Charleston, SC (WCBD)- The 2013 renovation of the Gaillard Center unearthed gravesites of 36 enslaved Africans from the 1700s.
Today, a lecture at College of Charleston reveals findings from DNA research of the remains.
The National Geographic Society provided a research grant to the Gullah Society in Charleston, SC to fund the DNA analysis of the remains. Dr. Ade Ofunniyin, founder of the Gullah Society and Anthropology professor at the College of Charleston says that the research process is ongoing, but so much has already been discovered.
He says, “We do know that they are from West Africa, but where specifically in West Africa, we are hoping to find out with the DNA analysis.”
Dr. Ofunniyin says that the DNA findings provide a living link to descendants in the Charleston area.
He says, “The process will probably go on for years, once people realize how revealing this actually is and how this process is bringing families and people back together who were disconnected for a number of reasons. Through this process, we’ve been able to connect family members that have been separated as far back as slavery.”
The Gullah Society plans to bury the remains at a memorial site on Anson St. in Downtown Charleston, next to the Gaillard, on Saturday, May 4th.