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Wal-Mart-Sponsored Multi-Dimensional Black History Month Program Provides Rare Glimpse Inside the Gullah/Geechee Nation

Wal-Mart-Sponsored Multi-Dimensional Black History Month Program Provides Rare Glimpse Inside the Gullah/Geechee Nation

Retailer’s Nationally Syndicated Documentary Visits One of the Most Authentically African Societies in America

Bentonville, Arkansas (January 26, 2006) – In celebration of Black History Month 2006, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is sponsoring a multi-dimensional educational program exploring the past, present, and precarious future of the Gullah/Geechee Nation.   Extending the retailer’s Voices of Color film series, the program’s centerpiece is Will to Survive – The Story of the Gullah/Geechee Nation, a one-hour documentary that allows viewers a rare glimpse into the soul of Sapelo Island and the proud and mysterious Gullah/Geechee people. 

Considered one of  the most authentically African societies in America, the Gullah/Geechee Nation, which spans the barrier islands/eastern coast along the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida, was recently named “one of the five remarkable cultural wonders of the world you should visit before it vanishes” by USA Today.

This is the second year that a Black History Month program, featuring a televised documentary and a nationally distributed curriculum kit, has been underwritten by Wal-Mart. 

“The Will to Survive documentary presents us with an opportunity to tell a fascinating story,” said John Fleming, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for the Wal-Mart Stores Division.  “We are delighted to present it as part of our Voices of Color program and give ‘voice’ to a broader and more positive depiction of African-American images, via wide range, quality programming for the whole family.”

The documentary tells the living history of the Gullah/Geechee people, Americans who trace their lineage back to the original Africans that were captured and brought to the barrier islands along the south east coast. As industry drove settlers inland, the Gullah/Geechee people have remained in isolation for more than 200 years. The result is an American culture with many elements of African life still intact.  Over the years the island’s population has diminished to about 70 people.

Cornelia Bailey, historian and Sapelo Island community leader, said she contributed to the documentary to increase awareness of the Gullah/Geechee people – and their plight. “Sharing the history of the island will improve our efforts to preserve the land and the culture of its people,” said Bailey.

Will to Survive – The Story of the Gullah/Geechee Nation will air throughout February and March of 2006.  Additional information on the documentary, as well as other Wal-Mart Black History month programs, can be found on www.walmart.com/blackhistorymonth.  This page also features a link to a downloadable curriculum kit for grades 7-12.  This kit, along with the documentary, will also be distributed to schools nationally. 

About Wal-Mart Stores
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and SAM’S CLUB locations in the United States.  The company also operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, México, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, South Korea and the United Kingdom.  The company’s securities are listed on the New York and Pacific stock exchanges under the symbol WMT.  More information about Wal-Mart can be found by visiting www.walmartfacts.com.  Online merchandise sales are available at www.walmartfacts.com.  Online merchandise sales are available at www.walmart.com.

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