Gullah/Geechee Land Movement Marches On!
Just as the March winds truly blew in dipping temperatures in the Gullah/Geechee Nation, the Gullah/Geechee family stayed warm by coming together at a number of activities. Not only is March, Gullah/Geechee Volunteer Month which takes folks out into the community to help with environmental projects and assist elders and institutions, March was a time for marching on to fight for the coast as well. To that end, Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition and Gullah/Geechee Fishing Association members started off the month fighting for their coast against a United States draft plan to drill for oil off their coast. They joined a million others in commenting on this and rallied to garner more supporters to be a part of the #ProtectOurCoast #StoptheDrill movement.
One of the major issues pointed out at the rally to oppose oil drilling which took place on the steps of the South Carolina State House was the massive amount of tourism that comes to South Carolina. The majority of the tourism dollars in the state come from the Lowcountry which is within the Gullah/Geechee Nation. In order to insure that some of the economic empowerment from those tourism dollars as well as from circulation of finances within the community reaches Gullah/Geechee business owners, the St. Helena Island Community Market reopened for its third year.
The market takes place from 10 am to 3 pm on the first Saturday of each month. It launched with a seed swap for March and will proceed with the inaugural “Gullah/Geechee Gold Rice Festival” in April:
and “Gullah/Geechee Bike & Beauty” in May:
Each month there is a different theme:
In order to celebrate and continue the legacy of land ownership in the Gullah/Geechee Nation, the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition members supported the market and also hosted the second “Black Folks Land Legacy Conference” on historic St. Helena Island. Participants came from numerous states across the United States and from throughout the Gullah/Geechee Nation to learn of this historical legacy and to support the movement to keep the Gullah/Geechee people on the land.
A great deal of Gullah/Geechee land loss has been documented in photographs by Pete Marovich. His exhibit, “Shadows of Gullah Geechee” is on display at the South Carolina State Library in Columbia, SC until the end of March 2018. On Friday, March 23, 2018 at 5:30 pm the library will host a reception, talk, and booksigning with Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com). RSVPs are required for the event which is detailed at this link:
The “Coastal Cultures Conference” which will take place at the Hunting Island Nature Center in April will be the perfect follow up to the previous conference and the library talk. This annual interactive event will allow people to physically participate along the shoreline of the Gullah/Geechee Nation so that they can see the type of work that continues to go on to protect the land and to continue the cultural heritage of the Gullah/Geechee. Registration for the event can be done at
This event takes place just before the official opening of the hurricane season for 2018. The Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition partnered with the St. Helena Branch Library and hosted the “Gullah/Geechee Preparing for Storms and Emergencies” workshop to help people prepare for it. However, the citizens of the Gullah/Geechee Nation pray for a storm free year along the coast line. May the winds only blow in more positive people engaged in uplifting the community. Disya wha we da wok fa een disya land ob de Gullah/Geechee! Jayn we!
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- Tagged: business, conferences, cultural heritage, economic empowerment, environment, Geechee, Gullah, gullah geechee nation, Gullah/Geechee Gold Rice Festival, Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition, St. Helena Island Community Market