I Was Free and They Should Be Free! Harriet Tubman Journey of the Gullah/Geechee

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

“The most important thing was that I had a purpose-to get my kin out of bondage by any means.”
• Harriet Tubman #UndergroundWGN

I sat this evening watching and listening, meditating and feeling.  I had to hold the shouting for later as I sat in the clearing listening to Harriet Tubman.

This was not the first time that I listened to Harriet Tubman.  I have heard her speak to my soul for decades through pages and on stages as I told her story and how it linked to my people in the Gullah/Geechee Nation.  This was a story never written in the pages that I started reading about her from the first library book that I every checked out at 4 years old.  I read every book about her that I could find for years after that.  Once I started writing myself, I researched her life and I knew that this part of her story which kept coming into my spirit had to be told.  So, I spoke her story.  Harriet and I began to speak together.

I guess the conversations were what caused me to start my own journey to Underground Railroad locations where I even went into hiding places in walls in old homes and saw caves and wooded areas and listened to family members of conductors recount the oral histories of their families in the United States and Canada.  I still never felt as drawn to any part of the journey until I sat in Sea Island woods for a photograph for my production, “The Underground Railroad: A Geechee Girl’s Escape.”  When I rose from the position on the tree where I sat, I ran.  I felt someone’s spirit running with me and I felt I was being directed on a journey.  As I looked into the eyes of Aisha Hinds as she portrayed Mama Moses on WGN’s “Underground” tonight, I felt that energy once again.  It was strongly standing with me and pushing me at the same time.  Then I heard:

“Ain’t nothin that can’t be endured when ya got a purpose.”

Once again, I had to tie my mule and hold on the shouting as I sat back and embraced this energy.

This energy is freedom that I keep telling folks ain’t free.  This energy is what has caused me to have been at ceremony after ceremony receiving awards with Harriet Tubman’s name and face on them and hearing people say that they gave these to me for embodying her spirit.  Each time I heard these words, I was back in the energy that surrounded me from a child when I first met Harriet on pages of paper and her spirit rose from them to walk with me and run with me and sing with me and then she started to shout with me.  However, right now, we had to both sit down for a minute in this clearing which through the blessing of technology can be seen into via what we call a TV.  WGN, Tenki Tenki!

I heard the words that I have often said and been hated for saying spoken from Mama Moses’ mouth which was on the body of my sister of Underground, Aisha Hinds:

“There ain’t no negotiations on freedom.”

Gullah/Geechee Souljahs have known this for generations.  We still stand without negotiating our souls and our land.  We stand against allowing our people to be in bondage because then our land itself would become as strange as the land of freedom felt to Harriet when she found that she had crossed into it, but was standing there alone.

Many people do not realize it, but during the Civil War, thousands of Gullah/Geechee stayed in place because they felt that if they left, their family wouldn’t be able to find them.  Right now, if we leave, our family wouldn’t be able to find us because truly finding your family is a spiritual thing.  Tenk GAWD de wata bring we and de wata tek we bak ta we famlee!  Tenk GAWD fa de freedum pun disya islandts een de sea!  Tenk GAWD fa blessin and anointin we Gullah/Geechee and FREE!

Thank GOD that Mother Harriet Tubman’s family extended beyond Bucktown, MD and beyond Auburn, NY and reached to the Sea Islands.  Thank GOD with a bounty on her head she was Heavenly led to take the steps into the wilderness where the clearing ended up on the island of Port Royal and some were in the woods along the Combahee and even where she came to share a few days on my beloved St. Helena.  She continued to leave tracks as a soldier throughout the Gullah/Geechee Nation because she truly believed in her heart and soul the same way that I do:

“The most important thing was that I had a purpose-to get my kin out of bondage by any means.”

I am still going down and I pray that Moses does too, but when we rise, we rise in the power that GOD gave us to bring about freedom for our people which is the only way that you can have freedom too.  So, I continue to appreciate these opportunities to meet Mother Harriet in the clearing in order to RISE UP as Underground has charged us all to do!

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