Posts Tagged ‘Port Royal’

Celebrating Reconstruction in Beaufort, SC @GullahGeechee

January 10, 2018

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

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/realities-of-reconstruction-conference-tickets-41538624143

 

Realities of Reconstruction Conference

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

www.GullahGeecheeNation.com

 

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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

Honoring de Ooman Souljah een de Gullah/Geechee Nation fa Decoration Day

May 29, 2017

In honor of Memorial Day which is “Decoration Day” in the Gullah/Geechee Nation, Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation honors the legacy of Suzie King Taylor and Harriet Tubman who served at Camp Saxton in Port Royal on the island of Port Royal in South Carolina during the United States Civil War.

She addresses how Decoration Day began in Charleston, SC on May 1, 1865 as 10,000 Gullah/Geechees of which were 3000 children gathered at the site which is now Hampton Park to decorate the graves of Union soldiers.   On May 30, 1868, the celebration started to be done by soldiers for their fallen comrades at Arlington National Cemetary.  However, few people realize that this celebration was taking place for three years already and that as the commemoration grew, it became known as “Memorial Day.”

The fact that teachers and students were part of the initial Decoration Day would no doubt have warmed the heart of Suzie King Taylor who was an educator that had attended an illegal school for people of African descent as a child and grew up to run schools for her people even during the war.  Her story as the first Black nurse in the United States Army is rarely told just as the work of Harriet Tubman as a nurse and scout during the US Civil War is rarely told.  Queen Quet share these stories and how both will now be honored and memorialized in the Gullah/Geechee Nation on this edition of “Gullah/Geechee Riddim Radio.”  Tune een fa yeddi “Honoring de Ooman Souljah een de Gullah/Geechee Nation fa Decoration Day:” http://tobtr.com/s/10049725

www.gullahgeecheenation.com

President Obama Declares National Reconstruction Monument in Beaufort, SC

January 12, 2017

President Barak Obama declared three new United States National Monuments by using the Antiquities Act to “preserve critical chapters of our country’s history” and to “ensure that our national parks, monuments and public lands are fully reflective of our nation’s diverse history and culture.”  One of these new national monuments is the multi-site “Reconstruction National Monument” in Beaufort County, SC.  It will include the Brick Baptist Church and Darrah Hall which are both in the Penn Center National Landmark Historic District on St. Helena Island, SC as well as the site of the Emancipation Oak at Camp Saxton in Port Royal.   All of these sites have major significance to the spiritual and land rights story of the Gullah/Geechee Nation as well as to the on-going battle for freedom and full recognition of the contributions of people of African descent to America.

When the journey began a decade and a half ago in regard to posing the idea of having a Reconstruction study conducted by the US National Park Service, there was major opposition by the descendants of the Confederacy.  However, when Congressman James Clyburn and Director Jonathan Jarvis hosted a public meeting on historic St. Helena Island, SC during December 2016, every person that spoke was in favor of the “Reconstruction National Monument.”  Every face from which a voice emitted reflected the full spectrum of “diversity” since there was a wide array of Gullah/Geechee and non-Gullah/Geechee, anglo and people of color, male and female, and no doubt folks from a varying array of political parties and positions in the church.  I am sure that Brick Church had not seen such a mixture of people fill this building to the rafters since the Civil War era!

dsc08611As I sat there and witnessed and documented this historic moment, I thought about how the discussion previously was ready to ignite just what a documentary that I consulted for used as a sub-heading-the second civil war!  Now, even if some of the parties in the room were there looking at this controversial era as another way to bring in tourism dollars versus an opportunity to finally tell the entire story, it was a blessing that there will now be a platform from which this story will be revisited.  This time it will include what Gullah/Geechees did during that era and how we still dey ya pun de land wha bin paat ob disya!

Gullah/Geechees in Reconstruction: The Second Civil War

Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation consulted for “Reconstruction: The Second Civil War” and sang for the score. She is one of the re-enactors in several scenes as depicted here in the Tunis Campbell settlement scene shot on the Georgia coast of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.gullahgeecheenation.com).

After having served on the National Park Service Relevancy Committee, it feels good to know that our discussions about how the NPS would go forth after its 100th anniversary was not in vain.  President Obama and all those that supported this effort have insured that the national monuments reflected in the system will be diverse and relevant to people from all walks of life including those of a rural Sea Island.

As I walked out of the Brick Baptist Church down the dirt road on my beloved St. Helena Island, as I have done countless times in my life, I felt like I was walking with many of those that we still honor such as Harriet Tubman, Charlotte Forten, Suzie King Taylor, Martin Delaney, and the 1st South Carolina Volunteers that left their tracks in the Sea Island soil of Beaufort County, SC.  They seemed to be back standing on the island once again ready to shout like folks did at the first reading of the Emancipation Proclamation.  I was shouting with them because I have been blessed to work with people that love history with all its pains and controversy, trials, and triumphs.  We have stood together to battle to insure that the entire story was told and our cries were heard inside the White House!  As a result, we have definitely had a triumph with the declaration of the “Reconstruction National Monument” in Beaufort County, SC!  Tenki Tenki frum allawe President Barak Obama!

Peace,

Queen Quet

Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation

Founder, Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition


Tune in to “Reconstruction: The Second Civil War” to learn more about the significance of that era: