Gullah/Geechee Heirs Property and the USDA

On August 14, 2019, Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com) and a Gullah/Geechee Delegation went to Capitol Hill to provide comments at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s second of two listening sessions about heirs property.

Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation, Khetnu Nefer, Tiffany T. Mouzon, and Olubusola Abeena Moore arrive for the USDA Heirs Property Listening Session.
Antoine Prince Albert, Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation, and Anthony Maxwell at the USDA Heirs Property Listening Session in Washington, DC.

Although, Queen Quet and the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition (www.GullahGeechee.net) supported the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act in order to assist Gullah/Geechee and African American families with an equitable way to deal with retaining land when some family members want to sell and the introduction of heirs property into the US Farm Bill was linked to the movement of this act, Gullah/Geechees are concerned about the USDA’s current plans regarding heirs property. Queen Quet‘s major concern is the implementation of a loan program for heirs property. She made it clear that any such program should NOT use the land as collateral because that could then be another government means by which families get displaced from land. In her written comments she addressed requiring families to go through a wealth building course before any loans should be considered. She added emphasis to her written comments when she spoke out at the listening session:

Gullah/Geechee TV (GGTV) covered the entire listening session and is airing it in its entirety so that people are aware of the numerous concerns and horrible stories that were presented to the USDA:

The USDA will continue to accept comments until August 31, 2019.You may submit comments at the Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID FSA–2019–0010. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.

Mek sho hunnuh chillun le um kno de #GullahGeechee gwine hold pun e land! Providing grants without requiring repayment should be made an option to assist heirs property holders with clearing titles and establishing themselves economically., but there shouldn’t be any more loans and such used that could lead to loss of land via liens and eminent domain. Dr. Martin Luther King made clear what was done in the past for those that were not of African descent regarding land grant programs after he announced the Poor People’s Campaign on historic St. Helena Island, SC in the Gullah/Geechee Nation:

When Gullah/Geechee leaders wanted the Congressional Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Act to contain a clause to protect the ownership of Gullah/Geechee land, they were told that the federal government couldn’t protect the land. They could only work with the Gullah/Geechees to be “empowered to keep their own culture.” Yet, at the same time, laws continue to be enforced and implemented that caused displacement and destructionment along the Gullah/Geechee Nation‘s coastline. Much of this can also be tied to what Dr. King made abundantly clear in this interview:

Queen Quet has fought for Gullah/Geechee land ownership for approximately 40 years, She will continue to do so because without the land, there is no culture. So she consistently says,

Hunnuh chillun tek a stand and hol pun hunnuh land!

Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation speaks out
at the USDA’s Heirs Property Listening Session in Washington, DC.

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