Posts Tagged ‘Gullah culture’

De Gullah/Geechee Foundation of America

October 5, 2017

Many people only look to the Gullah/Geechee Nation to hear storytelling and music or to seek out a great plate of food.  However, when they arrive on the soil of the Sea Islands and Lowcountry between Jacksonville, NC and Jacksonville, FL they are now walking on the foundation of America that is held together by the blood, sweat, and tears of the Africans from Angola, Ivory Coast, Burkina-Faso, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Senegal, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Togo, Benin, Gabon, Congo, and Zaire as well as some from Madagascar and Mozambique.  These Africans from numerous ethnic groups became called “slaves” by the enslavers, but they retained their ethnic names amongst themselves.  Over time, all of their DNA and traditions began to flow together like the waters of the Sea Islands and this flowed into the amalgamation of their cultural expressions.  The culture that they created is now called “Gullah/Geechee.”

The knowledge base of millions of Africans was exploited in order to have lands cleared, buildings designed and built-the big houses and enslavement cabins as well as the forts along the shores of the Gullah/Geechee Nation‘s coast to name a few-and to have fields planted and harvested so that the crops became “cash” as they were sold on the international market.  The very ships that the Africans that were considered to be “cargo” where transported on as well as those that returned with the crops to other lands were insured by those in what are now the northern states including the New York and New England.  TransAtlantic Slave Trade was the economic engine that caused the colonies to continue to be built up and to be places to which others continued to come to by choice as well as by force.

The fact that Africans literally built up this cultural landscape by hand and that they were the ones that managed the areas called “plantations” and took care of the people enslaved therein as well as taking care of the enslavers, is not the story conveyed as people continue to journey to the plantations of the coast and spend millions of dollars per year to simply see the grounds and to hear the stories of what life was like.  However, the stories at these sites and those of the missionary schools and schools formed to be places in which the children that enslavers had with African women are inaccurately told in order to make them palatable and to remove the true “value” of the Africans from the storylines stated by docents and by plantation “historians,” curators, re-enactors, and storytellers.

Due to a consistent repetition of inaccuracy, many people think that all Gullah/Geechees came from Sierra Leone when only a small percentage of Gullah/Geechee ancestors came from that one country.  It is more accurate to state that a large number of Gullah/Geechee ancestors came from the Windward Coast/Rice Coast region.  Many Gullah/Geechees also have native American or indigenous American ancestry as well.

While millions of people remain unaware of the existence of Gullah/Geechee people and the Gullah/Geechee Nation, there are those that have heard these terms, but are still unclear on what they mean and visits to the aforementioned locations do not often have them depart with clarity in regard to it.  Many that have heard these terms, but are unaware of the origins of the terms “Gullah” and “Geechee” are also still concerned about whether or not to call anyone “Geechee” since for decades many people in the African American community used “Geechee” as a derogatory form against many people of African descent from the south (all of whom are were not from the coastal area that is now the Gullah/Geechee Nation.  They were simply “southern Blacks.”) that did not speak in the same manner that they did.  This was especially encountered when Gullah/Geechees ventured up north as part of and after the Great Migration.

Interestingly enough, many Gullah/Geechee words are part of American English and people do not give any credit to Africans for their contribution to English while they try to demote the Gullah language to a dialect of English when in fact it is a language unto itself which Geechee emerged from as fluent Gullah speakers tried to communicate with those that only spoke English.  To learn more about the journey that English has taken and some of the Gullah contributions to it, watch “The Adventure of English:”

“Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Awareness Month” provides us an opportunity to dispel many of the myths that continue to harm native Gullah/Geechees.  To that end, we encourage you to tune into these videos and to share them with others that are seeking to learn de trut bout who webe doung ya:

• Meaning of the Gullah/Geechee Nation Flag:

 

• Who de Gullah/Geechee Be:

• Origins of Gullah and Geechee:

Ef hunnuh wan yeddi mo bout who webe, gwine yonda fa shum pun Gullah/Geechee TV (GGTV) www.gullahgeechee.tv.

www.gullahgeecheenation.com

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De Wata Need We! Protecting the Waters of the Gullah/Geechee Nation!

August 15, 2017

“De wata bring we and de wata gwine tek we bak” is a well known Gullah/Geechee proverb.  The waters of the Gullah/Geechee Nation are critical to the continuing of the cultural heritage of the people there.  Gullah/Geechees still literally subsist due to harvesting from the sea.  They do all that they can to live in balance with the waterways and want to keep these waterways pristine.  To that end, Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation, the Gullah/Geechee Fishing Association, and the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition are supporting the bans on the use of plastic bags which are being put in place in numerous townships on the Gullah/Geechee Nation‘s coast due to the numerous harms that take place with the sea creatures and the environment when plastic bags get into the oceans and estuaries.

In addition to supporting the plastic bag bands, they are supporting this petition by their partner Oceana to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA):

https://act.oceana.org/page/12931/petition/1?ea.tracking.id=email&utm_medium=email&utm_source=en&utm_campaign=defense&utm_content=NAT+-+20170814+-+NOAA+Streamlining+Regs+Petition+-+ND+-+SL+Winner&ea.url.id=1007464

Please click the link and sign the petition before August 21st so that ocean protections will remain in place.

Gullah/Geechee Nation Opposes Oil Drilling and Seismic Guns

The Gullah/Geechee Nation also finds itself having to fight against oil exploration, oil drilling, and the use of seismic guns in the Atlantic Ocean once again since the US government is attempting to reopen the coast to this.  We have until August 17, 2017 for comments to be entered with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in opposition to oil exploration including the use of seismic guns and to oil drilling.  We are calling on all of our supporters worldwide to let them know that you stand with the Gullah/Geechee Nation maintaining its cultural heritage on this coast and to that end, you want the Atlantic Coast kept off of the list of locations for oil exploration and drilling to take place.  You can go to https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=BOEM-2017-0050-0001 to enter your comments.

Tenki Tenki ta all hunnuh wha gwine stand wid de Gullah/Geechee!  Disya time, de wata need we!

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Tune in to “Gullah/Geechee Riddim Radio” to hear more about these petitions and ways to assist in protecting Gullah/Geechee cultural heritage on our coast:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/gullahgeechee/2017/08/14/reconstruction-gullahgeechee-coast-land-legacy-and-justice-environmentally

www.gullahgeechee.net

www.gullahgeecheenation.com

 

Harriet Tubman Statue to be Erected in Beaufort County, SC in the Gullah/Geechee Nation

May 8, 2017
Many people are unaware of the fact that Harriet Tubman, who is most known for her outstanding work freeing enslaved people from bondage via the Underground Railroad, stayed in Beaufort, SC during her service as a soldier and scout.  She served during the United States Civil War and was stationed at Port Royal Island.   In order to enlighten more people in the world about her presence in Beaufort County, SC former South Carolina General Assembly member, Rev. Kenneth C. Hodges made sure that the bridge over the Combahee River was renamed in honor of Harriet Tubman and now there will also be a monument erected in Beaufort at the Tabernacle Baptist Church where he pastors to her honor.
Join the Beaufort Gullah/Geechee Famlee at the “Gullah Lowcountry Dinner Theater” on Friday, May 26, 2017 at 5:30 pm. This event will feature a presentation by Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com) entitled “Hallelujah Harriet: Mother Moses and de Gullah/Geechee.” The entire event is a fundraiser for the Harriet Tubman Monument which will be placed at Tabernacle Baptist Church Campus.  Advance tickets are on sale.   The ground breaking ceremony for the monument will take place on Saturday, May 27, 2017 at 10 am and is free and open to the public.
Harriet Tubman Fundraiser Dinner
For more information about the event and how to contribute to the monument, go to www.harriettubmanmonument.com,
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/gullah-lowcountry-dinner-theater-harriet-tubman-monument-fundraiser-tickets-34422790493.  You can also email GullGeeCo@aol.com or go by the new Gullah/Geechee Visitors Center at 1908 Boundary Street in Beaufort, SC.  Tickets are on sale at the Gullah/Geechee Visitors Center, Lybensons Gallery, and Tabernacle Baptist Church in Beaufort, SC as well as at the aforementioned link.  
 
Bring the family to this monumental celebration!
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Tune in to the Gullah/Geechee TV (GGTV) coverage of the historic ground breaking ceremony: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KO5xJeqeLI

Queen Quet Presents “Gullah/Geechee: Africa’s Seed in the Winds of the Diaspora”

January 18, 2017

 

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Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com) is an award winning author.  She has released five volumes of a thirty volume history series entitled “Gullah/Geechee: Africa’s Seed in the Winds of the Diaspora.”  She will present from this series for “Books Sandwiched In” at the University of South Carolina-Beaufort Center for the Arts on Monday, February 6, 2017 at from Noon to 1 pm.  The histo-musical presentation will be followed by a book signing.  The event which is sponsored by the Friends of Beaufort County Library is FREE and open to all.  Cum fa yeddi bout who webe een de nayshun ob de Gullah/Geechee!

bsi-flier-with-books-and-authors-and-presenters-2

www.gullahgeecheenation.com

Gullah/Geechee Nation Literacy Celebration

August 17, 2016
Gullah/Geechee Nation Literacy Celebration!
International Literacy Day at the St. Helena Branch Library
September 7, 2016 Noon to 6:30 pm
 

Gullah:Geechee Nation Literacy Celebration Flyer

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General stated “Literacy is a foundation to build a more sustainable future for all.”  Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com) is an author that is a native of St. Helena Island, SC.  She is the only Gullah/Geechee to have been taped at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France.  This was done during the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights when she was asked to come to a United Nations Conference at UNESCO Headquarters and was filmed telling the human rights story of the Gullah/Geechee Nation.
Queen Quet is a global literacy advocate that is standing with other world leaders in forwarding the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which includes Sustainable Development Goal 4 that aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.  So, to that end, she will host the“Gullah/Geechee Nation Literacy Celebration” which is part of the “Gullah/Geechee Living History Series” at the St. Helena Branch Library at 6355 Jonathan Francis Drive on historic St. Helena Island, SC on Wednesday, September 7, 2016 from Noon to 6:30 pm.
This year marks the 50th Anniversary of International Literacy Day and UNESCO is celebrating it under the banner “Reading the Past, Writing the Future”. International Literacy Day 2016 celebrates and honors the past five decades of national and international engagement, efforts and progress made to increase literacy rates around the world. It also addresses current challenges and looks to innovative solutions to further boost literacy in the future.
Fifty years ago, UNESCO officially proclaimed 8 September International Literacy Day to actively mobilize the international community and to promote literacy as an instrument to empower individuals, communities and societies.  So, the “Gullah/Geechee Nation Literacy Celebration” will begin before the day that the entire international community will join in this annual celebration.  The Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition is encouraging people to come in and meet the authors and purchase and check out books on the 7th and then have family, library, school, and community center read-ins on September 8th and 9th.  They are also encouraging aspiring writers to come to the St. Helena Branch Library to learn about the book publishing technology and software that is available to the community between September 7th and 9th.
Authors on September 7th will include Queen Quet, David Grimm, Lynn Bryant, Shiela Martina, and JD Horn.  Special guests readings will also be done from the works of Heyward Inabinett and Mary Alice Monroe.  Come out to enjoy the history, biographies, and the novels that each of these authors has been inspired to write due to their connections to Gullah/Geechee cultural heritage and traditions.  For the schedule of readings and dialogues with the authors, email GullGeeCo@aol.com or call (843) 255-6486.
 
“Support the legacy of the Gullah/Geechee by continuing to promote literacy!”