Geechee Gals Gettin' It - Vol. 1: Grace T. Walker-Harrison
The Gullah Geechee culture is not only rich in history. The gifts our ancestors gave are infinite and inspire us daily but it doesn’t just stop there. No, Gullah Geechee is a living, breathing culture. What we do today continues to shape our community and narrative. From healing work, to activism, music, entrepreneurship, preservation, counseling, parenting, natural hair care and more, Gullah Geechee women continue to “Reach back and get it” and then put their thing down, flip it and reverse it!
Grace T. Walker-Harrison, Geechee Gal
I was born in New Haven, CT. At 5-years-old I moved to Summerville, SC, where my grandparents lived. I lived there until I was 12 and then I was sent back to Connecticut. I graduated from high school in ’96 and by 1999 I was ready for change. Jacksonville, FL was my next destination. In 2012 I finally decided to move back to SC. I’ve grown up exposed to the city-life as well as the country-living. Moving so often didn’t provide much stability. Because of this, it was easy learning to live without becoming psychologically attached to locations or people.
I’ve been exposed to so many things in just a short period of time, it’s hard to narrow my passions down to one or two. So far I absolutely love African Dance and everything that comes under that umbrella. My body automatically responds to the music without a thought. I’m passionate about Gullah Geechee culture. Learning my history is amazing and it constantly leaves me in awe.
I am a mother of two active teenage girls, a wife, a full-time employee, an African dancer,business owner, and I assist with Gullah Geechee Angel Network events. Organization and balance is key for me. There are times when I may take a day or weekend to do absolutely nothing. I use that time to take care of me and rejuvenate my mind. Rest my body. Spend time with my home. How to help the evolving culture? For the adults: staying involved, assisting in the area that appears to struggle. Getting our youth involved so that they understand and are aware of their identity within their culture. It’s through the youthful energy that the positive evolution of the culture will expand in areas like education, social media advertisement, cultural and community projects. We must advertise and exemplify the phrase “Do Your Part!”
The desire to see if I could be successful at something that I was 100% responsible for is what motivated me to start my own business. I tell my children regularly that they can do anything they put their minds to. What was stopping me from being a successful, independent business-owner myself? Once I began learning more about my culture, I recognized that there wasn’t an immediate source for many of the cultural items that I had grown to admire (attire, accessories, fabrics, etc.) Wearing various hats can be draining, confusing, and overwhelming at times. Honestly, being a parent has given me the strength and confidence to know that any goal I set can be accomplished. Parenting is my priority and because I’ve mastered raising 2 positive, smart, respectful humans, I’d say I’m working on my PhD in parenting at the moment.
I believe my purpose now is to assist our elders with the work that needs to be completed so that our culture doesn’t become dormant. I do so by showing them how to use technology, typing paperwork, making calls, being an educated face and voice for their affairs and making sure that their needs are met.
My advice for entrepreneurs is to remain patient and prepare to struggle. IF your product is not a direct daily need, be prepared to have slow seasons. Keep into consideration that your based clients may very well be on fixed/ minimal income. Stay persistent. Remaining obedient and involved will continuously play a vital role in not only the growth of your business, but for the evolution of the culture as well.