Gullah/Geechee Nation Reflections from Operation Understanding: Long may she reign.
Operation Understanding has been visiting the Gullah/Geechee Nation for over a decade. The African American and Jewish students tour with the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition (www.gullahgeechee.net) and have an opportunity to engage with Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com). Please read the words from their blog entited “Long may she reign..”:
“How often can you say that you’ve hugged a Queen? Can you testify that you’ve looked into her eyes and felt a bond with her, adored her, not for her royal robes or fancy clothes (though she did wear thosefierce purple pumps), but for her heart, her character, her love of Slick Rick and Public Enemy, her passion for her people? I am blessed to say that I, on July 16, 2013, met, hugged, and felt a personal connection with and a love unlike any other for Queen Quet of the Gullah/Geechee Nation. She is nothing like I expected. I saw her big heart through her words, proclaiming that she fights on behalf of her people day in and day out, a seemingly thankless and very tiresome task. She reigns not on a throne, but with her creek boots up to her hips as she goes into the waters to gather food for her people. Her crown is not one of silver or gold, but one with shells and a symbol in the center of her forehead edifying man, woman and child.
As she took time out of her busy schedule to talk to us about her life and the hard work she does, she taught us some songs in Geechee and showed us how to echo the African drums with the clapping of our hands, telling us that that’s what her ancestors had to do when, by law, their drums were silenced. We also reflected on the intelligence of the enslaved Africans through listening to coded songs that warned, encouraged, and bid “Fare thee well!” to those with the flame of freedom burning in their hearts.
I will forever remember Queen Quet the Magnificent. I agree wholeheartedly with the African people from all over that blessed continent in their quest to identify with her, and I echo this statement with pride in my heart for this incredible woman: Queen Quet is my Queen, too! As long as she continues to serve her people faithfully and selflessly, long may she reign!”