God, Dr. Buzzard, and the Bolito Man:
A Saltwater Geechee Talks about Life on Sapelo Island
by Cornelia Walker Bailey
Paperback. 368 pages.
Equal parts cultural history and memoir, God, Dr. Buzzard, and the Bolito Man""recounts a traditional way of life that is threatened by change, with stories that speak to our deepest notions of family, community, and a connection to one's homeland.
Cornelia Walker Bailey models herself after the African griot, the tribal storytellers who keep the history of their people. Bailey's people are the Geechee, whose cultural identity has been largely preserved due to the relative isolation of Sapelo, a barrier island off the coast of Georgia. In this rich account, Bailey captures the experience of growing up in an island community that counted the spirits of its departed among its members, relied on pride and ingenuity in the face of hardship, and taught her firsthand how best to reap the bounty of the marshes, woods and ocean that surrounded her. The power of this memoir to evoke the life of Sapelo Island is remarkable, and the history it preserves is invaluable.
Cornelia Walker Bailey's family has lived on Sapelo Island since 1803. Christena Bledsoe lives in Atlanta and Cedar Key, Florida.