In 2017, Sunn m’Cheaux became the first and only Gullah language instructor at Harvard University. In this role, he teaches a curriculum based on extensive research and his own personal Gullah/Geechee knowledge and experience.
m'Cheaux was born the middle child of a Pentecostal Holiness minister (father) and missionary (mother) in Charleston, South Carolina. A true Gullah/Geechee “binyah” (native), he was reared in rural Mt. Holly, South Carolina in a familial village established in the late 1850s. The rich Gullah language and culture he absorbed growing up on those sandy Low Country back roads is ever-present in his life as an artist, advocate, and educator.
m’Cheaux has been fully embraced at Harvard University, having been invited to be a resident lecturer for Project Teach (Harvard’s Official College and Career Awareness Program) and to speak about his course at other universities and events nationally and in the Caribbean Islands–honored as guest lecturer at the 14th Anatol Rodgers Memorial Lecture and visiting scholar at the University of the Bahamas–and he has been featured in Harvard Crimson and Harvard Gazette.
He has cultivated a strong following online via social media with frequent viral content ranging from pop culture commentary, allegorical anecdotes, and entertainment, to serious discussions, advocacy, and philanthropy via crowdfunding. He uses this content to promote intellect, ethics, enlightenment, and education.
In addition to academic endeavors, m’Cheaux has collaborated creatively in film and television as an actor and, more recently, as a Gullah language and culture consultant. He is set to release an illustrated book of Gullah fables for kids. Moreover, m’Cheaux is completing his mixed media memoir that will incorporate his talents in storytelling, songwriting, spoken word, photography, and education.
Proud, yet humble about his achievements, m’Cheaux’s personal mantra in all his endeavors is “we outchea,” a celebratory Gullah/Geechee affirmation meaning “we are out here.” He attributes his personal ascension to the collective excellence of his culture and people overall. In that regard, m’Cheaux embodies “Muss tek kyeh de root fa heal de tree,” the Gullah proverb that means, “Must take care of the root to nourish the tree.”
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