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Sallie Ann Robinson, the Gullah Diva of Daufuskie Island in South Carolina

Sallie Ann Robinson was born in 1958 on Daufuskie Island in South Carolina, a sixth-generation Gullah raised on the island. The Gullah are African-Americans who live in the Lowcountry of Georgia and South Carolina, a group of maybe 125,000 folks who speak a distinct Creole language, one born of isolation from whites while working on plantations, a language influenced heavily by the grammar and cultures of Central and West Africa.
Sallie Ann Robinson, The Gullah Diva, posed for a portrait with a piece of found driftwood on the beach on February 3, 2019, in Daufuskie Island, South Carolina. Robinson is a sixth generation native Gullah. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
Sallie Ann Robinson, The Gullah Diva, posed for a portrait with a piece of found driftwood on the beach on February 3, 2019, in Daufuskie Island, South Carolina. Robinson is a sixth generation native Gullah. [MONICA HERNDON | Times]
Published Feb. 13, 2019
Updated Feb. 13, 2019
A photograph of Sallie Ann Robinson in a copy of Pat Conroy's book, The Water is Wide, gets passed around a tour group while inside the renovated Mary Fields School on February 2, 2019, in Daufuskie Island, South Carolina. The school building now houses a coffee shop, an indigo dying studio, and church and civic activities. Robinson was featured in Conroy's book as the character Ethel. Conroy taught Robinson for one year at the school.
Sallie Ann Robinson laughs with Lisa McDonald, visiting from Newnan, Georgia, after signing a copy of her cookbook at the Freeport Marina General Store on February 2, 2019, in Daufuskie Island, South Carolina. Robinson has written two cookbooks, Gullah Home Cooking, the Daufuskie Way and Cooking the Gullah Way: Morning, Noon and Night.
A Live oak covered in Spanish moss shields Sallie Ann Robinson's home on February 2, 2019, in Daufuskie Island, South Carolina. Sallie currently lives in a restored historical home where Frances Jones, a long-time teacher and leader on the island, once lived. She hopes to build on her family's property soon.
Sallie Ann Robinson walks back towards her truck on February 2, 2019, in Daufuskie Island, South Carolina. Robinson goes by The Gullah Diva.
Sallie Ann Robinson preps collard greens on February 2, 2019, in Daufuskie Island, South Carolina. She strips the stems from the leaves for texture and to limit the bitterness.
Collard greens, bread pudding, turkey wings and yellow rice, prepared by Sallie Ann Robinson, The Gullah Diva, on February 3, 2019, in Daufuskie Island, South Carolina.
Sallie Ann Robinson chops rutabaga for collard greens on February 2, 2019, at her home in Daufuskie Island, South Carolina. Robinson said that chopped rutabaga adds a natural sweetness to the greens.
Sallie Ann Robinson spoons gravy onto turkey wings on February 3, 2019, at her home in Daufuskie Island, South Carolina.
Sallie Ann Robinson walks toward driftwood at the beach on the Atlantic Ocean, on February 3, 2019, in Daufuskie Island, South Carolina. Daufuskie Island, accessible only by boat or ferry, is home to about 400 full time residents.
Sallie Ann Robinson smells rosemary found growing near the old oyster cannery on February 3, 2019, in Daufuskie Island, South Carolina.
Sixth generation Gullah, Sallie Ann Robinson walks towards the family home where she was born, on February 3, 2019, in Daufuskie Island, South Carolina. Robinson hopes to one day renovate the property for a bed and breakfast.
Sixth generation Gullah, Sallie Ann Robinson walks through the family home where she was born on February 3, 2019, in Daufuskie Island, South Carolina. Robinson hopes to one day renovate the property for a bed and breakfast.
Sallie Ann Robinson sings with a hymnal during service at the First Union African Baptist Church on February 3, 2019, in Daufuskie Island, South Carolina. The church, rebuilt after a fire in 1884, still has the original pews.
The ferry leaves Daufuskie Island on February 4, 2019, in South Carolina. Daufuskie Island does not have a bridge and is only accessible by boat. About 400 people live on the island full-time.
Related: Gullah Diva coming to St. Petersburg

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