Circle Unbroken — A Gullah Journey from Africa to America airs on PBS Oct. 5

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Circle Unbroken — A Gullah Journey from Africa to America, a local film produced by Ron Small, will air on PBS on Mon. Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. The film is what Small describes as a "musical documentary," with a historical narrative framing moments of singing in significant locations, like spots on the Sea Islands and in Beaufort, S.C.

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"Gullah culture has such a huge impact on the U.S.," says Small. "If you're African American there's a 75 percent chance you came from the Gullah people in South Carolina."

Small, a self-proclaimed Jewish boy from Chicago, first got involved with the Gullah/Geechee community about 20 years ago when Anita Singleton Prather a.k.a. Aunt Pearlie Sue, a well-known Gullah/Geechee scholar and storyteller, asked for his help in producing a show. 

Small says that his inspiration for Gullah/Geechee productions comes simply from a desire to educate people — not just those in the Gullah/Geechee community, but everyone with ties to Charleston's history. He recently created, a source for all things Gullah/Geechee and a platform for Gullah/Geechee-produced arts. 

Circle Unbroken — A Gullah Journey from Africa to America began simply as a concert. After the tragedy at Emanuel AME, Small says he realized that the community deserved a more fleshed-out product to celebrate the area's heritage. "There's a lot of room for more material," says Small of the future of his Gullah/Geechee productions. "It's a history everybody needs to know."

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