As the City of St. Augustine celebrates it’s 450th Anniversary the Gullah Geechee Group hosted the 1st Mende Culture and Film Festival. This festival is to honor those unique Africans known as Gullah Geechee who settled on the shores of St Augustine in 1565 and to highlight those Gullah Geechee many of whom self emancipated to St. Augustine 150 years before the Civil War settled communities such as Fort Mose (1738) and Lincolnville and Armstrong (1866), after the Civil War. These 3 communities are in St. Johns County, Florida. The festival is being held in October to coincide with Governor Scott’s Gubernatorial Gullah Geechee Proclamation, which the Governor issues every October and has for the last 4 years highlighting the rich history and culture of these unique Africans known as Gullah Geechee who settled many Maroons communities and established some of the first militias protecting La Florida.
The festival had the Gechee Gullah Ring Shouters perform, basket weaving and other arts. Many films related to the Mende topic were showed to a packed audience. The festival continues in Miami & Ft Lauderdale. FL in January 2016.
For more info go to www.mendefilmfest.org