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CCU professor to speak on famous lowcountry author

March 19, 2008

Coastal Carolina University English professor Veronica Gerald will give a talk titled "Scarlet Letters: Julia Peterkin's Low Country" on Wednesday, March 26 at 7 p.m. at Coastal's Waccamaw Higher Education Center in Litchfield. The discussion is free and open to the public.

This is the final event in CCU's "I'm Glad You Asked" dialogue series, sponsored by the Board of Visitors of the Thomas W. and Robin W. Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts.

Gerald's talk will focus on Julia Peterkin's 1928 award-winning novel "Scarlet Sister Mary." The novel, about an African-American community on a former South Carolina rice plantation, introduced Gullah culture to a wide audience. A Broadway play adapted from the book was staged in 1930 starring Ethel Barrymore.

Gerald will discuss how the novel's characters, stereotypes and archetypes persist in the interpretation of the Gullah culture. The Gullah are African-Americans who live on the sea islands and Lowcountry region of South Carolina and Georgia and are known for their distinctive African linguistic and cultural heritage.

An assistant professor of English, Gerald joined the Coastal faculty in 1980. She is a specialist in the areas of American literature and African-American, Gullah and American studies. She was director of history and culture for three years at the historic Penn Center on St. Helena Island near Beaufort, the site of one of the first free schools for African-Americans.

Gerald also taught at Illinois State University and Morehouse College, and she has received various awards for her work in the preservation of the Gullah culture, including the South Carolina Governor's Award in Humanities.

Coastal's Waccamaw Higher Education Center is located off of U.S. 17 at 160 Willbrook Blvd. behind the Hampton Inn in Litchfield.

For more information call the College of Humanities and Fine Arts at 843-349-2421.