Posts Tagged ‘South Carolina’

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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Realities of Reconstruction Conference to be held at Reconstruction Era National Monument

May 18, 2018
Realities of Reconstruction Conference to be held at the Reconstruction Era National Monument in Beaufort, SC in the Gullah/Geechee Nation
 
(18 May 2018, Beaufort, SC, Gullah/Geechee Nation) Join us for the inaugural “Realities of Reconstruction Conference” to be held at the new Mather Museum & Interpretive Center at the Technical College of the Lowcountry campus in Beaufort, SC in the Gullah/Geechee Nation.

 

Beaufort County is now the location of the new multi-site Reconstruction Era National Monument.  The “Realities of Reconstruction Conference” will engage those interested in learning more about this largely untold story of the initial steps taken into freedom by the formerly enslaved Africans.   Interactive sessions and films about the Reconstruction Era and the part that people of African descent played as well as how they suffered due to political and financial setbacks will all be part of the dialogues at the “Realities of Reconstruction Conference.”

 

Friday, the “Realities of Reconstruction Conference” will begin with a tour of the new Mather Museum & Interpretive Center followed by “De Gullah/Geechee Reconstruction Storee Tour” led by Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com).  The tour will include engagement with the National Park Service interpretive rangers.

 

Saturday, the Reconstruction Luncheon and interactive conference sessions will take place at the site of the Mather School which was established during the Reconstruction Era.  Sessions will be led by Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation and Founder of the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition, Ahmad Ward of the Mitchelville Preservation Project, Dr. Najmah Thomas of the Department of Africana Studies at the University of South Carolina-Beaufort (USCB) and the National Park Service. The sessions will conclude in the late afternoon and a closing celebration will take place on historic St. Helena Island, SC with the local Gullah/Geechee community.

 

Sunday, conference participants are encouraged to attend worship services at one of the churches affiliated with the Reconstruction story.  At 2 pm, a caravan will depart from the Gullah/Geechee Visitors Center in order to go to a ceremony in honor of the Combahee River Raid which was led by Harriet Tubman and Colonel Montgomery during the United States Civil War.  Dayclean de African Spirit will conclude this historic ceremony which ends the conference.

 
 
Realities of Reconstruction FlyerFlyer art by Dianne Britton-Dunham and Nizar Ahbir.

 

Pre-Registration is required.  No on-site registrations will be done.  Proceeds will benefit the Mather Museum & Interpretive Center and the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition.  Go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/realities-of-reconstruction-conference-tickets-41538624143?aff=erelexpmlt

This event is being sponsored by the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition, GADA, USCB African Studies Department, the National Park Service, and All Mobile Productions™ (AMP™).

We look forward to bringing the truth of ourstory into reality in Beaufort County, SC.   Cum fa jayn we!

www.GullahGeechee.net

www.GullahGeecheeNation.com

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 (www.QueenQuet.com)

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:

• http://www.wltx.com/video/news/local/hundreds-gather-in-opposition-of-offshore-drilling/101-8007623

• http://www.wistv.com/clip/14124082/busloads-of-oil-drilling-protesters-confront-boem-in-town-hall-event

• https://www.facebook.com/StopOffshoreDrillingintheAtlantic/videos/2116119771957757/

 

After viewing, please get your comments in to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).   You can submit the comments and letters here: https://www.boem.gov/National-Program-Comment/  Please cc the letters to the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition at GullGeeCo@aol.com as well. 

 

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 (www.QueenQuet.com)

Queen Quet at the Harriet Tubman Monument Model Unveiling

Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com) 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. http://www.HarrietTubmanMonument.com

 

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

 

www.HarrietTubmanMonument.com

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 https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=571&projectID=73762&documentID=81456 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:

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