The African-American craft of making coiled baskets has been practiced in the South Carolina lowcountry for more than two centuries. Scholars acknowledge sweetgrass basketmaking as one of the most important links with West Africa in American material culture. The craft was once dispersed in communities from North Carolina to Florida, but changing cultural conditions and pressures from coastal development have led to its general decline.
Today, the craft exists as a continuous locally rooted tradition only in the Charleston County community of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. The Mt. Pleasant Sweetgrass Basketmakers' Association was formed in 1988 in response to the social changes that have been forced upon the basketmaking community. Though the association is young, its membership represents generations of knowledge. The association has played a crucial role in responding to the effects of Hurricane Hugo on the basketmakers' community. The Mt. Pleasant Sweetgrass Basketmakers' Association received the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award in 1990.