Archive for the ‘Action Point’ Category

Civil War 3-#StoptheDrill and #GullahGeechee

February 16, 2018

Our morning began in the cold as we left St. Helena Island.  We were on the road at the hour that most of our ancestors and elders had to journey out into the fields and into the creeks.  Ain bin dayclean yet.   Even though the sun wasn’t shining and the wind was cutting, the more of us that got into the car, the warmer it got.  By the time we got to the bus in Yemassee, our fire for freedom was a blaze and it felt hot.

As our bus headed up the ramp from Beaufort County, more buses left from Georgetown and Charleston County.   They thought that they would make the decisions for us in the Midlands and in DC, but we were coming to let them know that we already decided what would take place in the Lowcountry to protect the Gullah/Geechee.

On board the bus, I felt like we were taking yet another freedom ride and through it would have to turn this political tide.  As I stood on the steps of the South Carolina State House, I stood firm and listened very closely.  As I heard the words from the representative from Greeleyville ringing out saying “We want our freedom now!” coupled with the words back to back from the other representatives saying that we are here to send a clear message to Washington, DC, I stood there thinking “South Carolina is firing again and this will be Civil War 3!”

South Carolina was the first state to succeed from the Union if you will recall the history.  Reconstruction was, as the documentary is entitled, “the second civil war” for Black people coming out of slavery.   So, as the words rang out that we will NOT be dictated to by DC, I stood there proud that so many agree with the stand of the Gullah/Geechee.

Gullah/Geechee Stand Up to #StoptheDrill and #ProtectOurCoast

Gullah/Geechee natives Michael F. Rivers and Robert Brown who are representatives in the South Carolina Legislature came and stood with the Gullah/Geechee Fishing Association.  The moment will forever be embossed in my mind and in ourstory of the Gullah/Geechee Nation.  In order to #StoptheDrill and #ProtectOurCoast we took a stand.  We will NOT allow seismic guns and oil to destroy our cultural heritage, our waters, and our Sea Island sand!   We stood for those that can no longer physically march nor stand and we will continue this fight with all that we can.

United were the people that took this freedom journey from our coast to the middle of the state and I will never forget the powerful energy that filled us on that date.   It is now time to get more people to speak through their pens and online.  We have until March 8th to enter comments in opposition to seismic guns and oil drilling one more time.  I pray that folks will write in to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) juss likka we.  We will not give up the fight to protect our homeland nor the sea!   Hunnuh chllun, cum be souljahs een disya armee wid de #GullahGeechee!  Cum unite een disya fight wid we!

by Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (

Queen Quet Speaking Out at #StopTheDrill #ProtectOurCoast Rally

To hear some of the words Queen Quet shared at the rally to #StoptheDrill and #ProtectOurCoast, check out some of the media coverage:





After viewing, please get your comments in to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).   You can submit the comments and letters here:  Please cc the letters to the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition at as well. 



Rallies to Stop Oil Drilling @GullahGeechee

February 1, 2018

The current US administration is attempting to overturn the the removal of the east coast from oil exploration and drilling.  The Gullah/Geechee Nation is calling on all of our citizens and supporters to stand with us and our environmental partners as we rally to #StoptheDrill and the use of seismic guns off of our coastline!

#StoptheDrill Off the #GullahGeechee Coast

You can come stand with us by:

  1. Submitting a letter to the Bureau of Oceans Energy Management (BOEM) before March 9, 2017.  Go here for details:
  2. Submitting opposition comments here
  3. Boarding one of the buses departing South Carolina to head to the rally in Columbia, SC and to the BOEM meetings being held.  The rally at the South Carolina State House will be held at 11 am on Tuesday, February 13, 2018.  That afternoon environmental leaders fighting against this issue will speak at the Doubletree Hotel where the BOEM public comment session will also be held from 3 to 7 pm.
    Queen Quet of the Gullah/Geechee Opposing Oil Drilling

    Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation ( and Founder of the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition ( continues to stand up in opposition to seismic gun use and oil drilling!

    Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation ( will be one of the speakers of the day.  Sign up here for a FREE ride to Columbia from either Beaufort, Charleston, or Georgetown Counties:

  4. Boarding the bus leaving the Outer Banks in NC for the rally in Raleigh on February 26, 2018.  To register go to:
  5. Plan to attend the BOEM “open meeting” in Atlanta, GA on Feb. 28 from 3-7pm at the Renaissance Concourse Atlanta Airport Hotel at One Hartsfield Centre Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30354. (404) 209-9999
  6. Stand up for the amendment to the Florida Constitution which will ban oil drilling forever. on February 19, 2018.  Get more details here:


This exploration will not bring life to our coast.  It will only kill.  So, hunnuh need fa stand wid de #GullahGeechee and #StoptheDrill!

Gullah/Geechee Stand Up to #StoptheDrill and #ProtectOurCoast

Penn Center and the Gullah/Geechee Community

January 18, 2018

On the cold evening of January 17, 2018, Gullah/Geechees of St. Helena Island and a handful of newcomers to the area made their way into Frissell Community House at the Penn Center National Landmark Historic District.  The gathering was not unlike those that most of us that are native to the island grew up attending.  Folks blocked the doorway as they signed in with hugs and “good ednins” gwine on.   The smiles and “Happy New Year” greetings set the tone for what needs to be a new phase of the direction that this historic institution takes.


Penn Center Community Relations Committee Meeting


Penn Center, Inc. originated as “Penn School” in 1862 when it was founded by northern missionaries that did not have an understanding of the Sea Island community to which they came.  To that end, they did not respect the local language and felt it was their “calling” to educate the people that attended the school which included insuring that they would not carry on their own language except when it would be done in songs which entertained the potential donors that visited the campus.  These singing sessions continued when Penn closed as a school and became a non-profit organization called “Penn Community Services” and remains under “Penn Center, Inc.”  These sessions are called “Community Sing” and are held on the third Sunday evening of each month.

The Gullah/Geechee family of St. Helena Island seemed to be singing in harmony once again during this first gathering of what is the Penn Center Community Relations Committee (CRC).  The CRC is a standing committee of the Penn Center, Inc. Board of Trustees. It was established on December 8, 2017 in order to improve and enhance the relationship between Penn Center, Inc. and the community it serves.

Interestingly enough, the improvements and enhancements that were stated during the working group sessions at the first meeting included people stating that the institution should not disrespect nor misrepresent Gullah/Geechee culture and that the local language needs to be continued.  The latter is definitely not the duty of the institution.  That is the duty of those that were the native Gullah/Geechees in the room and the others throughout the Gullah/Geechee Nation.  However, the institution’s administration and board are being directed not to go back to what the past was when people on the campus is to denied the existence of our unique culture and our language and degraded the people that spoke Gullah fluently.  This is no doubt a concern given that fact that the institution that had a long history of being operated by Gullah/Geechees that volunteered at the space and Gullah/Geechee staff no longer has this.   The Board of Trustees for Penn Center, Inc. have heard numerous concerns about what this has caused in regard to relations with the local community and their guests that come to St. Helena Island and to that end, the CRC has been formed to address these concerns and more.  The community articulated their concerns via work sessions and came up with this list:

Penn Center CRC 1st Meeting Stop Notes

The community also provided input on what should continue or be kept at Penn as well as ideas on what things should begin there:

This input will be compiled and provided to the board at their next board meeting in order for their feedback to be returned to the community at the next CRC meeting.  A primary objective of the Community Relations Committee is to establish and maintain two-way communication between Penn Center’s board, staff and community members. The Community Relations Committee will host at a minimum, 1 Community Forum each quarter beginning January 2018, and will also provide leadership and coordination for the Community Sing Program.

The community encompasses the locality of St. Helena Island, as well as surrounding areas; anyone who is interested in the mission of the Penn Center, Inc. has an open invitation to participate in Community Relations Committee activities. The Committee is scheduled to meet at 6 pm in Frissell Community House on Penn’s campus on the following dates in 2018:

• March 21
• May 16
• July 18
• September 19
• November 21

This is an outstanding opportunity for the community to loan their voice to the future of Penn in order to insure that it will be improved and be supported for another over 150 years.  The fact that the first meeting was held two days after the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was no doubt Divinely Order since he, too, had gatherings of the community in this community house.   Now it will take those that gathered in the house and reasoned together to keep the house standing and to decorated it in a way that will truly honor our Gullah/Geechee ancestors that attended there and that literally built the buildings that stand as a historic treasure in the Gullah/Geechee Nation.  Tenk GAWD fa all hunnuh chillun wha taut um not robree fa be een de numba!  Keep gwine on!

by Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (


Queen Quet is not only the founder of the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition which has supported numerous programs of Penn for over 20 years and brought hundreds of volunteers to the campus to donate to and work on the campus, she is also an advisor to the Penn Center Board of Trustees.  Queen Quet has received numerous awards for her community work including the “Women of Distinction Award” from Penn Center, Inc.  From 2013 to 2015, she proudly co-chaired the annual Heritage Days Celebration which is a homecoming for St. Helena Islanders and a major fundraiser for the institution.  Admission to that event will be FREE for 2018 according to an announcement made by the Penn Center Executive Director during the first meeting of the Community Relations Committee.


Unveiling Harriet Tubman’s Work in Beaufort, SC

October 18, 2017

My entire life it seems that I have been on a journey with Mother Moses Harriet Tubman.   One of the first books that I ever took out of a library was a book about her life which led to me continuously seeking out more books about her.  Eventually, this led to me reading about the lives of countless others that self-emancipated and those that assisted with the Underground Railroad.

I started to travel to towns that I read about and would walk up to the doorways of homes that I believed were the addresses of safe houses.  Fortunately, GOD kept me safe as I entered these homes that sometimes had historic markers outside and others that I was told were down the road or down the hill.  I walked into these places as a complete stranger and actually went into hiding places inside of walls so that I would have the same experience that our ancestors that refused to remain enslaved had.

Along the way, I got to see wagons with hiding places built into them and I got to talk to descendants of these conductors and passengers who would recount the stories to me the way they had been passed down in their families.  I not only spoke to people in the United States, but crossed over into Canada to find the town that was settled by Josiah Henderson who was the person that the character, “Uncle Tom” was based on.  It saddens me that a man that took his freedom and independently built an area where he could assist other Black people in their freedom through economic empowerment has had his true story erased by fiction and negativity.  If people knew his story, they would take no offense at being an “Uncle Tom.” Thousands are still unaware of his land ownership and his life’s work.

Just like Mother Moses, I made it to Canada searching for that “Promised Land,” but ended up coming back across the boarder into New York.  My journey to upstate New York led me to another safe house that had a marker, but didn’t allow public tours.   Yet, the owner let me come inside and she took me through the house and then encouraged me to stop by the Seward House once I told her that I was on my way to the home of Harriet Tubman.   Little did I know that the mansion that was the Seward House was a necessary part of knowing the truth of Harriet Tubman’s story in New York.  William H. Seward offered to give Harriet Tubman land on which to live and she refused to take anything for free.  She worked to pay him for the land and obtained her deed for it.

As part of my journey, GOD had it that I would work with the Underground Railroad Study and be a featured presenter when we unveiled the logo for the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. Hundreds of us came together to fight for national recognition of the stories of Harriet Tubman and the others who laid the tracks to freedom via the Underground Railroad.  Now that the network was established, more focus came to the most well known conductor, Harriet Tubman.  So, we got enlisted into working on the Harriet Tubman Study.  Just as when Mother Moses heard of the war being fought that could help emancipate her people, I did as she did and signed up for this service.

While we worked on the Harriet Tubman Study, I thought of her journey from upstate New York to Beaufort, SC.  I thought of traveling all that way by foot with a bounty on her head.  Yet, my thoughts could never fully encapsulate the magnitude of such a journey until I made my way up these hills and mountains in New York State to get to her lovely home in Auburn.  I was in a car and found some of the terrain unbelievable to navigate.  So, thinking of walking and being in carts while also having to costume and camouflage yourself in order to insure that you were not recaptured and sold or killed for the bounty only added more to the magnitude of the mission.

I was blessed on my mission to meet family members of Harriet Tubman that were still running the small interpretive center and the home.   I got a chance to talk to them and tell them where I was from and the distance I had traveled to finally visit this place.  They were happy to hear it and they shared answers to several questions that I had.  However, Beaufort, SC didn’t seem to trigger anything significant with them or to strike any chords.

Thankfully the Civil War and people leaving the north to head southward to help did strike a chord with Mother Moses Harriet Tubman which led her to Beaufort, SC.   Thankfully she hit the right chord with the Gullah/Geechees along the Combahee River when she stood next to Colonel Montgomery as a soldier and helped to orchestrate the Combahee River Raid to free over 700 enslaved Gullah/Geechees from the rice fields along that river and get them to Beaufort, SC where the Union occupation was in place.  Harriet Tubman was a nurse and a scout for the Union and one could also add “recruiting officer” to her credits given the hundreds of Gullah/Geechees that joined the Union troops and got mustered into service at Port Royal because of encounters with her throughout what is now the Gullah/Geechee Nation.

When I first discovered a small amount of information noting that Harriet Tubman was in Beaufort, SC, I took it to the local historical society and asked for the address of her home and bakery and was actually asked “Who is Harriet Tubman?”   As a response to that, I marched in the history parade as her and then brought my play, “The Underground Railroad: A Geechee Girl’s Escape” to the town and to my home island of St. Helena to begin to shed light on our ancestors contribution to this major part of history and ourstory.  I wanted people to be well aware that even the greatest heroine amongst the freedom seekers of the 1800s was here in our area and she met with people such as Charlotte Forten while she was here.  I wanted to insure that if nobody else told it, I would make sure her story was told.

After a decade, I got an invitation to the name changing ceremony of the Combahee River Bridge to the Harriet Tubman Bridge on October 18, 2008.  I proudly stood with Pastor Kenneth Hodges to hold the photo of the aerial shot of the bridge at the conclusion of the ceremony.  Little did I know then that we would stand together with shovels in hand to break ground for the Harriet Tubman Monument at the site of the Tabernacle Baptist Church campus.  On Saturday, May 27, 2017, we lifted the soil at the location where a statue honoring Mother Moses and depicting her leading our people will be placed.  The public finally got to see the model of the sculpture that has been created by Ed Dwight when it got unveiled at this location on October 17, 2017.

Harriet Tubman Monument Model

I am now looking forward to being able to physically stand up next to Mother Moses Harriet Tubman since we have been standing and running together all my life.  I pray that the many others that have called her name, depicted her, written about her, and support her being on the United States $20 bill will send in the $20 bills and more to contribute to insuring that no one will ever again be in Beaufort County, SC without knowing about the existence and the legacy of Mother Moses Harriet Tubman.   Once they learn herstory at the base of the statue, I pray that they will join us in continuing to stand and fight for the global freedom and human rights of all people!

by Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (

Queen Quet at the Harriet Tubman Monument Model Unveiling

Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation ( stands proudly next to the model for the Harriet Tubman Monument that will be placed at the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Beaufort, SC in the Gullah/Geechee Nation.


Tune in to the Gullah/Geechee TV coverage of the groundbreaking ceremony for the Harriet Tubman Monument:


Reconstruction Era National Monument Request Public Input

August 15, 2017

Reconstruction National Monument Foundation MeetingBeaufort County, SC is the location of the new multi-site Reconstruction Era National Monument.  The US National Park Service is currently putting together their foundation document which will direct how they will manage and interpret the site.  To that end, they have held several public meetings throughout the county and are seeking public comments, please go to before August 18, 2018 to add your words to this critical part of the process.

Please tune in to the Gullah/Geechee Riddim Radio coverage about the Reconstruction Era and the importance of your input in the progress of the Reconstruction Era National Monument: