Daughters of the Dust, Julie Dash’s feature film about Gullah Geechee culture, is about to reach its 20th anniversary. In recognition, the Avery Research Center (along with other programs at the College of Charleston), the International African American Museum, and the South Carolina Historical Society will host a symposium Sept. 16-17, bringing experts from all over the world to the Holy City to discuss the impact of the project.
Filmed on St. Helena Island, Daughters of the Dust was ground-breaking in a number of ways. Dash was the first female African-American director to have a movie widely released to theaters, and the story follows three generations of Geechee women from the perspective of an unborn child, touching on race, class, and gender issues.
The proposed symposium schedule features talks on Gullah art, African-American film, and more, and it finishes up with a screening of Daughters at Hampton Park. Participating professors are coming from schools all over the country, as well as Spain, and there will also be a speaker from the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art. Dash will be present, giving a keynote address and leading a discussion with actors from the film. Visit the Avery Research Center’s website to register for the symposium.
In association with the event, the Charleston County Public Library has selected Dash’s 1999 novel of the same name for One Book Charleston County. Local branches will give out 4,000 copies of the book to interested readers, and free events include lectures, a talk with Dash, and a film screening. For more, check out ccpl.org.