U.S. House reauthorizes funds for Gullah Geeche Cultural Heritage Corridor

In this May 17, 2013 photo, the sun rises behind St. Luke Baptist Church in Hog Hammock, a Geechee community on Sapelo Island, Ga. The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor running through four states on the Southeast coast received federal support for another five years.

WASHINGTON — The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor will benefit from federal resources for another five years.

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday gave swift approval to legislation reauthorizing the initiative, first passed in 2006.

For a Congress that typically has difficulty finding common ground, the bill had bipartisan support — and a bipartisan roster of representatives speaking on the measure’s behalf during debate on the House floor.

U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., the third-ranking House Democrat who sponsored both the 2006 bill and the most recent reauthorization, called the effort “one of my proudest achievements in Congress.”

U.S. Rep. Tom Rice, R-S.C., who represents the Myrtle Beach area, recalled growing up with the Gullah-Geechee culture along the South Carolina coast.

“It’s part of what makes the Lowcountry of South Carolina so unique,” he said.

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Gullah-Geechee culture refers to a way of life established by the descendants of slaves living on remote islands along the coast of South Carolina and three other states. Clyburn in particular has made preserving Gullah-Geechee heritage a major part of his ongoing legacy.

Emma Dumain is The Post and Courier’s Washington correspondent.