Queen’s Chronicle: Building While Black
by Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com)
By no stretch of the imagination do I take it lightly to have traveled to all fifty of the United States and more than half of the world’s continents where I’ve spoken in multiple countries. I appreciate the fact that I walk in the footsteps of great Black leaders, orators, and writers such as Ida B. Wells, Martin Delany, WEB DuBois, and Frederick Douglas. I have read their life stories and felt deeply the suffering that they went through as they sought to “be a credit to our race.” I also thought of how many of our own people sought to discredit them while they were living and now we have posters of them displayed (mostly during Black History Month).
I think of the evening that I went to meet about forming the Black Chamber of Commerce in Beaufort, SC and the brother that was starting the endeavor stopped everything to announce to the group how there was a history maker in the room. “Sister Queen Quet has gone to the UN and spoken on our behalf. They wouldn’t even let Malcolm’s plane land when he tried to go there.” I looked up at him and paused and thought deeply about that statement. I thought of introductions that Dr. Amir Jamal Toure had done and how he told people, “You are among the people who will be in your history books in the years to come. You need to realize that.”
I pondered how many things people do not realize. I pondered how many obstacles any Black person that wasn’t going to another country to entertain had to cross to get there-funding, racism, discrimination, prejudice, and xenophobia.
I thought of how each of these people and Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. left this earth knowing that he or she had done what they felt would build up our people and how it didn’t take them leaving buildings here for us to visit for us to recognize that they were for us. They each realized that it would take building the minds and spirits our people up in order for the Black race to be fully built up and sustained. Once the minds were built up, we could return to building the infrastructure of great communities and kingdoms and queendoms as did Sheba and Solomon and the others of Kemet and Kush.
In order to build, those coming out of enslavement realized they had to return to owning land as they did prior to the massive kidnapping and removal of our people from their home continent. Once Gullah/Geechee leaders that were pastors were asked what they felt the Emancipation Proclamation would mean for us and what they wanted, they made it clear that we wanted land and for people to leave us be. So, that is where I enter into this multigenerational story.
My journey has been for land and the mental and spiritual upliftment of our people for over four decades. In that time I have realized, the more that we go forward, post traumatic slave syndrome and sexism pull us back in a “crabs in a barrel scenario.” No amount of work is enough. If you build minds, people look for the buildings you are building without giving a dime or any tools or items to the construction of them. They look for buildings without thought for who will own the land and how the buildings will be sustained. They don’t look at the numerous institutions in the Black community that closed down and got bulldozed and those that are dilapidating due to lack of support. Until we restore and sustain these, why build more? If we are building more, how will they be credits to our race? Have we taken the time to notice the ones that should exist that do not?
I know that I have taken the time to sojourn to look for the institutions built by our people such as Madame CJ Walker and I have stood in the majestic halls and stood on the stage there. I have also shed tears seeing that our great scholars such as Carter G. Woodson and WEB DuBois didn’t leave people behind that valued them and their work enough to insure that their homes and offices were maintained and remained owned by their families. I started working with the US National Park Service to insure that such places would be restored and remain open in perpetuity and I continue to support the efforts by visiting such sites on a regular basis.
I am thankful that America realizes the value of showing the lifestyles of not only Frederick Douglass and Carter G. Woodson to the world, but also that of Maggie Lena Walker who tried to direct our people in economic empowerment and self-improvement. Her message is one that is still necessary today. If we would listen and then build on it with the same fervor that those that sit on social media use to critique and comment while they hide behind keyboards at their homes and watch others continue the work that our ancestors began-uplifting our race and building for our people’s future, we would have restored the greatness that Marcus Garvey and so many others stated was within us already.
Now as the land beneath our feet is threatened by climate change dynamics such as sea level rise and more intense storms, the job to build and sustain minds is that much more difficult because physical and mental illness has become more prevalent and many are self-medicating which weakens the body and clouds the mind and dulls the senses. How does one find common sense active amongst those whose senses have been dulled? Where are the builders and are they equipped with the tools with which to build or are they simply sitting on the sidelines evaluating what should be built and telling others already at work what additional work they should do?
It is a true blessing to encounter other builders of African descent on the journeys that I have taken and to learn from them that they are yet holding on in faith and with all that they have to insure that the monumental task of keeping our communities sustained as a tribute to our ancestors that came before us. We want to leave a legacy for our children yet to be born. We want them to also be credits to our race.
I am thankful to not only have the journals, speeches, and books from the ancestors to know what they went through and that the internal struggles of the souls of Black folks is not new, but to be amongst those that are on the same vibrational wave length. We seek to be credits to our race by building our minds to the utmost capacity that will allow us to collectively sustain the work of building in a way that will uplift our race. We do this in unity whether others folks give us credit or not.
Tenk GAWD fa hunnuh chillun wha a credit ta hunnuh race! Keep building!