“I Know Just How He Feels” Deep Concerns in Young People’s Lives

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Mary Twining Baird


This essay is written in the ethnographic present. It is based on research in South Carolina carried out in the late 1960s and early 1970s with the cooperation and consent of the residents of the John’s Island Community. All lines from the games and songs were sung during the presentation October 18, 2019, 2:30 P.M. at the American Folklore Society Annual Meeting in Baltimore, MD. The description of the Vulture’s gait and the Ranky Tanky body shake were demonstrated.


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Author Biography

Mary Twining Baird, Clark Atlanta University, retired

Mary Twining Baird, retired professor of English and retired Director of Graduate and Undergraduate programs of Humanities, Clark Atlanta University, looks for the deeper significances of the all-important verbal mastery of the African-descended population of the South Carolina and Georgia Sea Islands.


Jones, Bessie and Bess Lomax Hawes. 1972. Step It Down: Games, Plays, Songs, and Stories from the Afro-American Heritage. New York: Harper & Row Publishers.

Twining, Mary A. 2016. Sea Islands Heritage: Resonances of Africa in Diasporic Communities. With Foreword by Althea N. Sumpter and “The Gullah-Caribbean Connection” chapter by Keith E. Baird. Alpharetta, Ga: BookLogix.