Queen’s Chronicle-The Massacre at Emanuel and the On-Going Movement to Save Black Lives
by Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com)
Five years ago today, I arose in Charleston, SC for the second day in a row and prepared to make my way into the heart of downtown to provide an early morning talk to launch an international conference. The evening before, I had driven pass Emanuel AME as I had done countless times before, but this time wasn’t like the others. I stared at the building as I slowed down while driving and I thought of how Pastor Pinckney and I needed to meet. Yet, the Spirit led me to keep on going. I proceeded down to the harbor and walked to Gasden’s Wharf where our ancestors had been sold during chattel enslavement. I stopped a the water for awhile and took time to breathe and meditate there then we drove to another location.
As I awoke the next day, I still had the image of the church in my mind and a weighted feeling within. As I drove downtown again, I felt that there was something out of order. My spirit was not at rest with the energy in the city. I wondered why GOD directed me “Do not stay here another night. Go straight home.”
We went into the venue where I was to present after finally finding a parking space and then realized that we needed another item from the car. My folks went to go get the item, but took entirely too long to get back. My spirit didn’t rest with this. Something felt wrong and out of sync. So, I proceeded from the stage out into the street just as they turned the corner. It would be months later when Elder Carlie Towne, the Minister of Information for the Gullah/Geechee Nation would attest to the concern that she saw on my face as they came down the block and I asked them “What happened?” She hadn’t seen that before, but when I told them of the extremely clear message that GOD gave me that morning, it now made sense to her and she told me that she saw the concern that day.
I guess my look that morning didn’t make sense to Elder Towne the same way that when the message first came to me not to stay in the city, it didn’t make sense to me. However, when we left the venue, for the first time in life since I have been driving to and from Charleston, I didn’t stop anywhere. We left the parking garage and did not stop until we reached my house on historic St. Helena Island. I do not question GOD’s directions, I follow.
I had no idea what was to follow this message that night. I was online writing as usual and had not turned on a TV or anything since I got in. I decided to proceed to Facebook to just scroll through things before relaxing for the night and I saw a message about a shooting in Charleston. I shook my head and thought-“Yeah, right. That can’t be the case. I just left the city a little while ago.” I proceeded with turning on the TV and just as I did, I saw brothers that I knew standing in a circle on screen and I realized they were praying just as I heard, “Yes, there have been shots in the church and we can confirm that the pastor was killed.” My knees buckled and I leaned on the wall as I spoke to the TV screen in front of me and said, “No. Pastor Pinckney? No.”
I stood there mentally seeing a split screen of the church and the ominous energy that I saw spiritually hanging over the building the night before and an image of the basement of the church where we have prayed and met over the years. As the folks on the TV kept talking, I started spiritually seeing a pool of blood and I had to take a seat.
I attempted to convince myself that this was an inaccurate report and they will learn that the folks are fine, but GOD wouldn’t let me accept that. I kept watching the news (which I do not do on a regular basis) and the longer I watched, the worse it got. The longer people arrived and started reporting on the story, the worse it got. The more cameras showed up and people kept repeating that The Honorable Pastor Clementa C. Pinckney, Mrs. Cynthia Maria Graham Hurd, Mrs. Susie Jackson, Mrs. Ethel Lee Lance, Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Mr. Tywanza Sanders, Rev. Daniel L. Simmons, Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, and Mr. Myra Thompson were murdered by Dylan Roof, it got worse. The more Charleston profited financially from tragedy tourism as folks played in the blood of our families members and friends, it got worse. As people ignored the on-going pain of the family members that lived and had to see the world make the site of this assassination and massacre a place to simply pour money into while the families were still seeking to have folks pour love and upliftment into them, it got worse. Each year that people do not realize that Pastor Pinckney was a leader for land rights for Gullah/Geechee people and that is no doubt why he was targeted to be assassinated, it gets worse.
We had barely had our minds around how Brother Walter Scott was murdered before our faces on April 4, 2015 in Charleston. SC. We had not yet stopped seeing the reruns of the video each time we turned on the news or logged onto social media when the only thing that stopped that tape from running was folks running to another pool of blood in Charleston, SC. This time instead of the blood of Jesus Christ being what they sought at the church, they sought to see where my brother, friend, and comrade died along with members of his church family while GOD hid his family in a room so that they would live (like the one person spared from the gun shots) to tell the story. Yet, as the world continues to get fixated on tragedy, do they hear them? Do they ever hear those of us that relive all of these murders and assassinations when another Black person is murdered on camera?
Seeing the video of Brother Ahmaud Arbery immediately made my mind go into a split screen of Walter Scott getting murdered. I had no idea that the screen would begin to play like it was now a series as Breonna Taylor’s face and her story came before me within days of hearing that cops ran into the home of a family in the NC area of the Gullah/Geechee Nation. The screen moved to the next episode of Black death as the world saw a knee on the neck of Brother George Floyd. This time, I had to shut down the screen and not watch the video. I wouldn’t watch yet another Black life snuffed out. I would not listen to the constant echo in my soul of the list of names that began with Brother Trayvon Martin and continued to be added to. I started seeing Medgar Evers lying on the ground in front of his house bleeding to death. I started seeing Dr. Martin L. King laying on the balcony bleeding to death. I started seeing El Hajj Malik Shabazz aka Malcolm X laying on the floor of the stage bleeding to death. I started seeing the backs of Black women that fought back during chattel enslavement that had open wounds with blood draining down as they cried out. I started seeing the pool of blood expanding as it oozed out of Black bodies. Then I saw the knee and the lack of spirit in the eyes of this being resting on George Floyd and I realized that I had seen that look before in lynching photos. The “strange fruit” hanging from trees and swinging back and forth came into my mind and I tried to shut down this series, but I know too much and it wouldn’t shut down. It still hasn’t shut down.
The imagery was finally disrupted as I started hearing the elders that kept asking me, “Are you traveling alone? Be careful.” “Are you going all the way home tonight? Be careful.” I realized why they were always so concerned for me given that I speak up and speak out and I don’t back down. I trust GOD to keep me going in spite of the death threats and the fear that I’ve seen in the eyes of others. So, I turned to GOD once again to help me see my way through all of this as I recalled the countless Black deaths.
I prayed for the Black family. I prayed that we would begin to heal in order to be strong enough to keep breathing for Brothers Eric Garner and George Floyd and all the others that breathe no more. We owe it to them to continue to fight on with our last breaths to end racism and to cancel this series that folks keep trying to keep on the air called “Black Death” which they play and replay for ratings and the finances that come in from advertisements while the communities in which these tragedies happen slowly die as the energy is taken out of them when folks decide to turn the channel to something else that they find exciting until another day like this one comes when folks memorialize and remember. I always remember.
So, I rose early again today as I have for the past 5 years after not having been able to sleep until almost 4 am just as I couldn’t that tragic night five years ago. I rose to honor the lives of the Emanuel 9 through prayer and meditation. I continue to rise to stand up against racism and human rights injustices. I rise, breathe and fight for the Black lives that are no more so that their living would not have been in vain. I pray that my living will not be in vain. I pray that folks will tune out of tragedy and tune into justice with me.
To honor the legacy of the Emanuel Nine, please view and share these links, pray for their family members and friends, and support the fight for true freedom.
Gullah/Geechee Nation links regarding the Charleston Massacre and the Emanuel Nine:
MISSION: CHS WCSC TV Live 5 News SPECIAL: ‘Remembering the Emanuel 9’
Emanuel Nine Memorial
Emanuel Movie https://www.emanuelmovie.com/
Amazon: Watch Emanuel – Prime Video
Black Lives Matter Peaceful Protest 4 PM & Emanuel Memorial Event 9 PM – Wednesday, June 17, 2020 – Charleston Daily http://charlestondaily.net/black-lives-matter-protest-memorial-event-wednesday-june-17-2020/
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- Tagged: Ahmaud Arbery, assassination, Black Lives Matter, Breonna Taylor, Charleston, Charleston Massacre, Clementa C. Pinckney, Emanuel 9, Emanuel AME, Eric Garner, George Floyd, Queen Quet, SC, South Carolina, Trayvon Martin, Walter Scott