Gullahs of Achievement: A Celebration of Black History

February 3, 2018 by
The landmark St. Helena Branch Library will host its annual free Black History Month celebration on Tuesday, February 20, 2018 at 6 pm.  Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation ( and Founder of the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition will provide the keynote address for the program themed “Gullahs of Achievement.”  Queen Quet will focus on the legacy of Gullah/Geechee native Robert S. Abbott who founded “The Defender” newspaper and how his publication altered the history of tens of thousands of people of African descent during the era that is now referred to as “The Great Migration.”
Gullahs of Achievement
Queen Quet was chosen to provide the keynote address not only due to her on-going support of the “Gullah/Geechee Living History Series” that goes on annually at the St. Helena Branch Library, but also due to the fact that she is one of two St. Helena Island natives to ever be presented with the Association for the Study of African American Life and History‘s “Living Legacy Award.”   ASALH is the organization that was founded by the father of Black History Month, Dr. Carter G. Woodson.  So, receiving an honor as a living legacy is a true accolade and a testimony to Queen Quet’s commitment to Black history and cultural heritage.  She continues to live up to this honor by making sure to share the history that she loves at numerous venues annually for Black History Month.  So, she invites and encourages you to bring out the family to celebrate Gullahs of Achievement.
For more information, email or call (843)255-6486.

Webe Gullah/Geechee Anointed Peepol!

Lun mo bout who webe


Rallies to Stop Oil Drilling @GullahGeechee

February 1, 2018 by

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

Fighting for History-The Fort Fremont Story

January 20, 2018 by

During the annual members meeting at the landmark St. Helena Branch Library, the Friends of Fort Fremont premiered the documentary, “Fort Fremont: The Last Bastion in the Defense of Port Royal Sound 1898 – 1912.” This is the untold story of our local historic landmark and Beaufort’s role in the Spanish-American War.

Friends of Fort Fremont Documentary Premiere

Interestingly enough, the film also provides brief insight into the US Civil War and the role that St. Helena and Hilton Head Islands played in it.   This allowed the Gullah Statesman Robert Smalls to be mentioned within the context of how the naval operations came to be located in Beaufort County, SC in the Gullah/Geechee Nation.  Unfortunately, the Gullah/Geechee men that ultimately built the fort were not mentioned in this initial film which will enhance the visitor experience prior to tours of Fort Fremont which is located on historic St. Helena Island, SC.  The Friends of Fort Fremont begin a monthly tour of the site from the St. Helena Branch Library on the final Saturday of each month at 10:30 am.

The Friends of Fort Fremont have raised thousands of dollars which will be used to create an interpretive center at the Fort Fremont site.   They have received a number of approvals for this and have the support of the county to proceed.   So, they continue to seek members and volunteers that will assist with site maintenance and enhancement and with handling the visitors that will be coming to learn of this part of the history of the Gullah/Geechee Nation‘s coast.  For those that would like to be a part of the battalion of historians that are continuing to fight for Fort Fremont, attending the tour and/or one of the coming film showings is a great starting point.

As one of the people that fought to keep the property of Fort Fremont from being a site for a planned unit development (PUD), it is wonderful to see the progress that has been made by people coming together to fight for this part of St. Helena Island’s history.   I salute the Friends of Fort Fremont for the outstanding effort!

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

Queen Quet is a Friends of Fort Fremont

Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation ( is the first Gullah/Geechee to become a member of the Friends of Fort Fremont.  She was one of the Beaufort County historians that initially fought to have the Beaufort County Rural and Critical Lands Board purchase the site to prevent it from destructionment.  That board and the Beaufort County Open Land Trust purchased the property to keep it public in perpetuity.  The Friends of Fort Fremont have since provided kiosk and brochures so that visitors will understand the history of the site beyond the historic markers that sit outside the fence as they proceed inside.

The organization accepts membership dues and donations at

Penn Center and the Gullah/Geechee Community

January 18, 2018 by

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.

Celebrating Reconstruction in Beaufort, SC @GullahGeechee

January 10, 2018 by

One year ago, hundreds of people gathered together on historic St. Helena Island, SC in celebration of a major victory-receiving the Reconstruction Era National Monument designation for multiple sites in Beaufort County, SC at Gullah/Geechee.  Since that time, institutions and organizations have started focusing on the history of the timeframe from 1865 to 1877 in order to offer visitors to St. Helena Island, Beaufort, and Port Royal numerous places in which they can learn the importance of the era that followed the end of the United States Civil War.

On January 12, 2018, the public is invited to join the National Park Service (NPS) and park partners to celebrate the one year anniversary of the creation of Reconstruction Era National Monument. Festivities will kick off at 10 a.m. with a special program featuring music and remarks from the NPS, United States Congressional delegation and park partners at the Beaufort Arsenal, located at 713 Craven Street in Beaufort. The highlight will be the unveiling of a unique piece of art by Gullah/Geechee artist Sonja Griffin Evans to celebrate the park’s anniversary.

From noon 4 p.m., special talks, tours and activities will be offered at each of the four sites comprising Reconstruction Era National Monument:

●       Beaufort Arsenal – Tours of Beaufort’s downtown Reconstruction-related sites.

●       Darrah Hall at Penn Center – Talks, junior youth praise dance and programs on Reconstruction.

●       Brick Baptist Church – Praise dances, spirituals and educational programs.

●       Camp Saxton via Fort Fredrick site – Fort tours and activities relating to the first reading of the Emancipation Proclamation at Camp Saxton on January 1, 1863.

●       Old Beaufort Firehouse – NPS and park partners will offer a variety of educational information about Reconstruction and historic Lowcountry.

All of the events for the day are free.

The Reconstruction Era National Monument is dedicated to commemorating the period from 1861 through 1900 when nearly four million previously enslaved Africans sought to integrate into a free society and into the educational, economic, and political life of the country that they actually built.   The Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition in collaboration with Gullah African Diaspora Artists (GADA) will host a conference that will delve deeply into the Gullah/Geechee story of Reconstruction.  The Realities of Reconstruction Conference” will be held at the new Mather Museum and Interpretive Center which is located at the historic Mather School campus which is now the Technical College of the Lowcountry.  The conference will give the participants an opportunity to visit several sites beyond those that are officially a part of the Reconstruction Era National Monument.  It will conclude with a tribute to Harriet Tubman held at the Combahee River where she led a historic raid along with Colonel Montgomery during the US Civil War.   Registration for this interactive conference is now open at


Realities of Reconstruction Conference

Hunnuh cum and bring de famlee fa celebrate Reconstruction een Beaufort County @GullahGeechee!