Sweetgrass Baskets

Sweetgrass Baskets

sweetgrass

African Americans living along South Carolina’s coast carry on a 300-hundred-year-old tradition of making coiled grass baskets. Before the Civil War, enslaved West Africans made work baskets for use on rice plantations.

Today's basket makers sew coils of sweetgrass together with strips of palmetto leaves.

Other materials used to make modern baskets include pine needles and black rush (another marsh grass).

See basket sewers in action:

Basket stalls at the Charleston Market
Market Street between Meeting and Concord Streets
Charleston, SC
Free
Street vendors at The Four Corners of Law
Intersection of Market and Broad Streets
Charleston, SC
Free
Basket stalls along Route 17
Mount Pleasant, SC
Free
Meredith, A. (Producer), (1998). Baskets of gold: preserving African-American tradition. [Videorecording]. USA: Trident Productions, Inc..

See baskets at:

Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture
http://avery.cofc.edu/
Free at the College of Charleston
Address:
125 Bull Street
Charleston, SC 29424
Phone: 843-953-7609
Charleston International Airport
https://www.iflychs.com/
Free
Address:
5500 International Blvd. #101
Charleston, SC 29418
Phone: 843-767-1100
Charleston Visitor and Transportation Center
https://www.charlestoncvb.com/
Free
Address:
375 Meeting Street
Charleston, SC 29403
Phone: 843-724-7474
Toll free
Phone: 1-800-774-0006
The Charleston Museum
http://www.charlestonmuseum.org/
Admission fee
Address:
360 Meeting Street
Charleston, SC 29403
Phone: 803-722-2996
Penn Center, Inc.
http://www.penncenter.com
Free
Address:
Martin Luther King Highway (Route 45)
St. Helena Island, SC 29920
Phone: 843-838-2474
The South Carolina Museum
http://www.museum.state.sc.us/
Admission fee
Address:
301 Gervais Street
Columbia, SC 29202
Phone: 803-898-4921
South Carolina Aquarium
http://www.scaquarium.org
Admission Fee
Address:
100 Aquarium Wharf
Charleston, SC 29413
Phone: 843-720-1990

Where to Read More About It:

Rosengarten, D., (1986). Row upon row: Sweet grass baskets of the South Carolina low country. Columbia: McKissick Museum, University of South Carolina Press.
Cary, M.W., (1995). A sweet, sweet basket. Orangeburg: Sandlapper.
Gullah Net
(South Carolina ETV (Knowitall.org))
Read about the history and culture of South Carolina Native Islanders and watch a video showing a sweetgrass basket maker. From the home page, click on Baskets in the yellow menu bar.
https://www.knowitall.org/series/gullah-net
The Sweetgrass Basket Tradition
(Charleston County Public Library)
Read an article written by sweetgrass basket makers of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.
http://www.ccpl.org/content.asp?id=15732&catID=6045&action=detail&parentID=
5748

Last Modified: Tuesday October 24, 2017 10:08 AM