The story behind “Circle Unbroken”

Journey from Africa to America

Gullah - Black HistoryCultures, customs, history, beliefs and languages have been passed down to the next generation through storytelling, music and the written word. Anchor Media Group continues this tradition with the launch of the Gullah.TV website and our innovative video, Circle Unbroken. “Circle Unbroken” tells the story of the Gullah Journey from Africa to America and is part musical performance, part documentary and “portrays the origins of the Gullah culture from its early roots in Africa to modern time”. It was shot entirely on location in Charleston, Beaufort and the Sea Islands of South Carolina.

Gullah people are descendants of slaves who lived in the Lowcountry and on the Sea Islands, and developed a unique language and culture. Aunt Pearlie Sue is the performance name for Anita Singleton-Prather, a native of the Sea Islands and founder of The Gullah Kinfolk. Singleton-Prather and her 20-person ensemble spread the cultural history of the Gullah lifestyle through language, dance, music, food and crafts. Singleton-Prather wrote “Circle Unbroken” and narrates the film. “Circle Unbroken” is the latest project from producer Ron Small, who has worked with Aunt Pearlie Sue and The Gullah Kinfolk dozens of times over the past 17 years.

Filming this landmark video required a cast and crew of more than 100 dedicated people. Everyone worked tirelessly to ensure this “history of a people” was told both accurately and respectfully. You can get an idea of what happened during the filming of this project by viewing our behind-the-scenes photos.


 Black History in America

It has been estimated that most African-Americans can trace their roots in the United States to the Lowcountry of South Carolina, the birthplace of the Gullah culture. One could say that American black history actually began here in the land of Gullah. “They are well known for having preserved more of their African cultural heritage than any other black community in the US, including a creole language that contains strong African influences.” (Source)

The mission of this website, Gullah.TV, is to bring this rich history and unique culture together under one resource intended to preserve and educate all people about the Gullah legacy. Circle Unbroken provides a unique overview of how this culture evolved and what it means to black history in America.  Recently we had a public showing of Circle Unbroken at the I.P. Stanback Museum and Planetarium/South Carolina State University. Read what they had to say:

“Circle Unbroken – A Gullah Journey from Africa to America was one of the most exciting programs of the year at the I.P. Stanback Museum and Planetarium/South Carolina State University. It was also the best attended film, with audiences of all ages and ethnic diversity, including students and the community. In addition to the film, we were treated to an extraordinary live performance by Anita Singleton Prather and the Gullah Kinfolk. The powerful film was equally enjoyed by people with previous Gullah experiences and backgrounds and those for whom this was a first introduction to the rich Gullah culture. This is an important historical and cultural work; a must see for all people.”

Ellen Zisholtz
I.P. Stanback Museum
South Carolina State University

To get your copy of Circle Unbroken, visit our Gullah. TV online store.

Author: jonfrye