Posts Tagged ‘history’

Gullah/Geechee Save the Sea Islands Tour Gwine on wid de Chillun

July 10, 2018
QQ Teachin de Chillun 2

 

Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com) has been on her annual world tour since the beginning of the year.  Given that the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition (www.GullahGeechee.net) which she founded is now 20 years old, she returned to the theme that launched her into taking the Gullah/Geechee story internationally and themed the tour, “Gullah/Geechee Save the Sea Islands.”   Queen Quet has been to all fifty states of the United States and is now seeking to speak to people in every county in South Carolina.  She has already spoken in more than half of them over her nearly 40 year career leading the charge to authentically present the Gullah/Geechee language, history, and cultural traditions.

Queen Quet’s focus as she travels her home state is primarily “fa crak mi teet wid de chillun.”   Queen Quet annually speaks in Walterboro, SC at their summer reading program and she successfully did this last month at the Colleton County Memorial Library.  Throughout the year she does programs via the “Gullah/Geechee Living History Series” that the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition presents in partnership with the St. Helena Branch Library.  She took the living history to the children of the Metanoia Freedom School in North Charleston on Juneteenth.  Next she heads to Greenwood, SC for “Let’s Read.”  This project will donate 400 books to youths as part of Greenwood Diversity Committee’s “Let’s Talk About Race” series.  Duke Energy is sponsoring author Queen Quet to come in and not only do a book signing, but to also provide histo-musical presentations on Saturday, July 14th.  A morning session will be held from 10 to 11:30 at Weston Chapel AME Church with the afternoon session from 1:30 to 3 at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church.

At all of the events, Queen Quet encourages literacy.  She is an avid reader and a published author.  She just released the sixth volume of her thirty volume series on the history of Gullah/Geechees.  She will autograph copies at each event where she presents including during the “Gullah/Geechee Nation International Music & Movement Festival™ 2018” (www.GullahGeechee.info) which will take place in Charleston, SC August 3-5, 2018.  That festival will conclude with Queen Quet sharing the afternoon with youths at the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry from 2-5 pm during a massive drumming circle.

In the fall, numerous youths return to schools and they will come on De Gullah Root Experience Transformational Learning Tours of historic St. Helena Island, SC which Queen Quet is a native of.  Queen Quet has already hosted over a 200 youths on the tour this year including Girl Scouts.  She is also working on engaging Gullah/Geechee youths in the “EarthEcho Water Challenge” via her work as a member of the Gullah/Geechee Fishing Association (www.GullahGeecheeFishing.net).  They will host a “Gullah/Geechee Famlee Day” in October at Hunting Island Nature Center as part of the “Gullah/Geechee Seafood Festival” which will take place there on Saturday, October 27, 2018.  The families will engage in interactive events at the coastline which are based in Gullah/Geechee traditions.  Queen Quet started the “Gullah/Geechee Famlee Day” as a means of having people participate in the “Gullah/Geechee SEA and ME” program that she created.

Queen Quet believes in continuing the intergenerational learning that is a traditional practice of her native Gullah/Geechee culture.  So, we gwine on wid de chillun and gwine lun um who webe!

Webe Gullah/Geechee Anointed Peepol!

Lun mo bout who webe

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Fighting for History-The Fort Fremont Story

January 20, 2018

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 (www.QueenQuet.com)


Queen Quet is a Friends of Fort Fremont

Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com) 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 www.FortFremont.org.

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

Port Royal Proclaims Gullah/Geechee Nation Appreciation Week 2017

August 12, 2017

Queen Quet and Mayor Samuel Murray at Port Royal, SC

Mayor Samuel Murray and the town council of the Town of Port Royal presented Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com) with a proclamation for “Gullah/Geechee Nation Appreciation Week 2017” during their town hall meeting.  Tune in to the Gullah/Geechee TV (GGTV) coverage of the event:

 

www.gullahgeecheenation.com

Celebrate Gullah/Geechee Sustainability and Self-Sufficiency on St. Helena Island

March 26, 2017
Celebrate Gullah/Geechee Sustainability and Self-Sufficiency at the St. Helena Island Community Market’s 
Tunis Campbell Day
St. Helena Community Market Tunis Campbell Day
The St. Helena Island Community Market will open its second month of activities for 2017 with “Tunis Campbell Day” and a seed swap on Saturday, April 1, 2017 from 10 am to 3 pm at the Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial Park on historic St. Helena Island, SC.  The Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition is proud to collaborate with the market on this celebration of Gullah/Geechee sustainability and self-sufficiency in honor of Freedman’s Bureau Commissioner Tunis Campbell who assisted with land redistribution on the Sea Islands.  Given that Beaufort County is now the location of the new multi-site US Reconstruction Era National Monument, the St. Helena Island Community Market participants seek to provide more information to the attendees regarding this aspect of history.   To that end, Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com) will do a presentation regarding Tunis Campbell at “Tunis Campbell Day.”
 
Queen Quet will also celebrate the anniversary of her first visit to the United Nations to speak to the Human Rights Commission on behalf of Gullah/Geechee people at the “Tunis Campbell Day.”  That historic event took place on April 1, 1999.  Queen Quet has dedicated her life to protecting Gullah/Geechee land rights and the continuation of Gullah/Geechee culture.  Her life has many parallels to that of Tunis Campbell.  She also served as a federal commissioner and encountered many of the obstacles to land rights protection that Tunis Campbell did.   Being a native of St. Helena Island caused Queen Quet to know what Sea Island self-sufficiency is first hand and she is proud to be a part of the St. Helena Island Community Market which continues to support self-sufficiency and sustainability.
Queen Quet will do a book, CD, and DVD signing and there will be a number of other crafts and musical artists and entrepreneurs taking part in the St. Helena Island Community Market which takes place on the 1st and 3rd Saturday each month.  For those that are interested in more information about the market, please email info@StHelenaIslandCommunityMarket.com or go to www.StHelenaIslandCommunityMarket.com or email GullGeeCo@aol.com.
 
Cum jayn we fa celebrate Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Self-Sufficiency!