Preservationists are welcoming federal approval of a management plan to preserve areas steeped in Gullah Geechee culture. The U.S. Department of the Interior says the effort to promote cities and towns in the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida is ready to be put into action.
"The history and the legacy of people of African descent that were brought here as part of the African slave trade over three centuries ago," says Michael Allen, a spokesman for the National Park Service.
He says the effort to highlight these areas began in 2006. The histories and spoken dialects had not gotten much attention in recent years. But one notable reason for a resurgence in interest resides today in the White House.
"Our first lady Michelle Obama whose cultural lineage through her father's side, Jim Robinson, was on a plantation outside of Georgetown, South Carolina by the name of Friendfield," says Allen.
The Gullah Geechee Heritage Corridor will be the only one of 49 national heritage areas devoted solely to African history and culture.