On April 1, 1999, St. Helena Island Gullah/Geechee native, Marquetta L. Goodwine, Founder of the first organization in the world to contain the words “Gullah/Geechee” in its name-the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition (www.GullahGeechee.net), sat down before the world at the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Genéve, Switzerland.She presented the facts of the human rights violations that her people had suffered from the time her African ancestors had been kidnapped from the continent of Africa and were sold into enslavement on the Sea Islands in southeastern North America up to that moment in which there was an on-going effort to displace this unique cultural group that had both indigenous American and African roots from their homeland of the Sea Islands and Lowcountry between Jacksonville, NC and Jacksonville, FL.She rose to stand with the global supporters that sought to assist the Gullah/Geechee with continuing to exist instead of being assimilated into the melting pot of America or from continuing to be murdered for their land which they had held ownership to since the United States Civil War began.
The International Human Rights Association for American Minorities (IHRAAM) (www.IHRAAM.org) was founded by Dr.Yusuf N. Kly for this very moment-the opportunity to assist his Gullah/Geechee kinfolk with their human rights.Dr. Kly and IHRAAM advised Carlie Towne of the Gullah/Geechee People Foundation on how to proceed with insuring that the Gullah/Geechees would be able to continue to combat the injustices that they continued to be faced with. The Gullah/Geechee People Foundation led the election process that took one year to bring about having an official elected leader for what would become the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.GullahGeecheeNation.com).They started a petition entitled “Who Speak fa We” which was distributed in person at Gullah/Geechee businesses and events and via a secured online voting process which provided native Gullah/Geechees that were dispersed around the world to participate.United Nations observers were assigned to watch the voting process to insure that it was handled legitimately.A public ceremony was held to confirm the vote.That public ceremony took place at Sullivan’s Island, SC on July 2, 2000.
Marquetta L. Goodwine officially became “Queen Quet Marquetta L. Goodwine” on July 2, 2000 and was enstooled as the first Queen Mother, spokesperson, and Head pun de bodee of the Gullah/Geechee Nation.The declaration that they were standing on their human right to self-determination was presented to the world by native Gullah/Geechees from the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida.News media from around the world along with United Nations and United States officials were all present to witness this historic moment which turned the tide from extinction to self-determination for the Gullah/Geechees.
Queen Quet (www.QueenQuet.com) has spent four decades of her life fighting to prevent the genocide of her people and insuring that Gullah/Geechee culture will not only continue to exist, but that it will also be represented accurately and respectfully.She has successfully won many land rights cases and gotten laws changed in favor of the Gullah/Geechee people.She has repeatedly returned to the United Nations and continues to serve on international boards working to insure the continued sustainability of the environment of and the cultural heritage within the Gullah/Geechee Nation from Jacksonville, NC to Jacksonville, FL.The Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition that she founded led the charge as she worked shoulder-to-shoulder with US Congressman James E. Clyburn to get the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Act passed by the United States Congress and signed into law by President George Bush.
Queen Quet has won over 300 honors for her work in numerous arenas.As 2020 began she was presented with the “Black Excellence Award as Gullah/Geechee Gatekeeper” by the Bluffton-Hllton Head MLK Observance Committee and she received the “Non-traditional Environmental Educator Award” from the Captain Planet Foundation.
Queen Quet has “Queen Quet Days” and keys in numerous cities across America and the Gullah/Geechee Nation including Houston, TX, New Orleans and Donaldsonville, LA, Pittsburgh, PA, Ironton, OH, and Brunswick, GA.The South Carolina General Assembly honored her with a resolution for the work that she has done for her home state in regard to representing Gullah/Geechee culture and they also presented her with the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award for Gullah Advocacy.
Queen Quet, who is called “The Art-ivist,” continues to be a tireless environmental justice advocate. She is currently serving on the Anthropocene Alliance’s Higher Ground Council to combat flooding in the US and she is a leader with the Climate Heritage Network to combat climate change.She is standing with the Gullah/Geechee Fishing Association(which she is a founding member and secretary of) and the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalitionand Gullah/Geechee Sustainability Think Tank against seismic gun testing, against offshore drilling, and against destructionment at Bay Point.The latter campaign has garnered over 19,000 signatures to prevent another resort being built in Beaufort County, SC.Queen Quet and the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition are determined to have 20,000 signatures by the conclusion of July 2nd.Queen Quet sees achieving this goal and reaching the $20,000 benchmark on the Gullah/Geechee Land & Legacy Fund GoFundMe campaign (https://www.gofundme.com/f/gullahgeechee-land-legacy-fund) as the two greatest 20th Anniversary gifts she can receive.“Disya gwine sho şey mi wok and libin ain dey een vain,” she says. Those that use CashApp can make their donations to $GullahGeecheeNation throughout the month of July as the #GullahGeechee2020 celebration continues.
The Wisdom Circle Council of Elders which act as Queen Quet cabinet and the Gullah/Geechee Assembly of Representatives are calling for supporters around the world to support the Gullah/Geechee Nation throughout the month of July.They will host an online celebration of the leaders via Zoom at 3 pm on July 2nd.Those interested in attending can go to www.GullahGeecheeNation.com for the link to the gathering.People can also follow that page for consistent updates on the petitions that are being promoted to assist with protecting the rights of Gullah/Geechees and ending the exploitation of their land and their name by numerous Anglo companies and to receive updates on the numerous activities that are part of the #GullahGeechee2020 celebration that will continue throughout the remainder of the year.
The counties and cities along the Gullah/Geechee Nation’s coast are issuing proclamations in celebration of “Gullah/Geechee Nation Appreciation Week” and as salutes to Queen Quet for her 20 successful years as the elected Head-of-State and Queen Mother of the Gullah/Geechees. They are all calling for citizens to join with native Gullah/Geechees in this celebration of the continuation of their culture and the full achievement of their human right to self-determination.Queen Quet continues her journey with other world leaders seeking to bring the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from simply being a document to being a global way of life.De Gullah/Geechee Nation gladdee de world gwine beat de drum wid we and stand fa justice, equity, and equality!