Cotton Capital: The Sea Islands – episode 3 – podcast

This week we are revisiting our Cotton Capital series that originally ran in April 2023. Today in Focus will be back with new episodes on Tuesday 29 August.

Journalist DeNeen L Brown travels to the Sea Islands in the US and meets the Gullah Geechee people – direct descendants of enslaved Africans who picked the distinctive Sea Island cotton prized by traders in Manchester. The Sea Islands lie off the coast of Georgia and South Carolina.

She begins her journey in Savannah, a coastal city in the state of Georgia, where she meets the local storytellers and activists Patt Gunn and Rozz Rouse. They tell her about the Weeping Time, the largest auction of enslaved people in US history.

DeNeen then travels to one of the islands, Sapelo, and meets Maurice Bailey, who has a long family history on that land. Once there were more than 400 enslaved Africans living there, who mostly grew cotton, rice, indigo and sugar cane. Maurice tells DeNeen about life on the island then and now. She also meets the Gullah Geechee elder Dr Emory Shaw Campbell, who discusses the ways in which the Gullah Geechee culture is under threat.

On Hilton Head, a neighbouring island, DeNeen tries to find the location of a former plantation called Spanish Wells. Dr Cassandra Gooptar, who has been leading the research into the Guardian’s links to transatlantic slavery, found an invoice book that linked the Guardian to an enslaver called Baynard. He had owned a number of plantations including Spanish Wells and supplied cotton to the company of John Edward Taylor, the Guardian’s founding editor.

Cotton Capital is a six-part podcast series looking at the Guardian’s links to transatlantic slavery and the legacies of that history. It takes listeners from Manchester to Jamaica, the US, Nigeria and Brazil and back to the UK.

Host: DeNeen L Brown

Guests: Patt Gunn, Rozz Rouse, Maurice Bailey, Dr Emory Shaw Campbell, Dr Cassandra Gooptar

Sarah Parker Remond script: written by Sirpa Salenius and read by Rachel Handshaw

Series producer: Courtney Yusuf

Producer: Silas Gray

Consultant executive producer: Colin Stone

Historical consultant: Lance Parker

Original music: Melo-Zed

Sound design: Max Sanderson

Development series producer: Tej Adeleye

Development producers: Weyland McKenzie-Witter and Fatuma Khaireh

Commissioning editors: Nicole Jackson and Maya Wolfe-Robinson

With thanks to: Reverend Griffin Lotson, Dr Cassie Sade Turnipseed, Donellia Chives, Willie Heyward

Cotton Capital Podcast artwork. 5000x3000px, with title, with logo

Illustration: Mark Harris/The Guardian

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