The Fight for Black and Gullah/Geechee Freedom

by Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (

Usually I rise on January 12th to pay tribute to the Black preachers that met with Edwin M. Stanton and William T. Sherman in Savannah, GA in 1863. However, this year, I was focused on fighting for the very land that the ancestors told them was the basis of the manifestation of true freedom which was inherent in the word “emancipation.” When I found myself heading to another meeting to speak out on behalf of my people about said land, it dawned on me that the date has passed. Just as I started to shake my head thinking that the ancestors would not be pleased, I received a phone call from a relative that had awakened from a dream in which the ancestors told her who not to trust. I let her know that dream had to do with the land battle our family of St. Helena Island was currently in. She said, “I started to keep this to myself, but something told me to call and tell you.” I said, “GOD had it!”

“GOD had it and GOD has us” continued to radiate through my spirit after that call and I felt at peace that this was the way in which the ancestors sent me yet another message. This time they wanted me to be clear that it was more important to continue to honor their legacy and memory through active work today than having written something about them on an anniversary date. I felt their strength and their vision as I wrote letters to protect our land, promoted our petition, prayed and meditated.

During my meditations I was directed to revisit the dialogue that took place in Savannah:

State in what manner you think you can take care of yourselves, and how can you best assist the Government in maintaining your freedom.

Answer:  The way we can best take care of ourselves is to have land, and turn it and till it by our own labor–that is, by the labor of the women and children and old men; and we can soon maintain ourselves and have something to spare….

State in what manner you would rather live–whether scattered among the whites or in colonies by yourselves.

Brother Frazier Answers:  I would prefer to live by ourselves, for there is a prejudice against us in the South that will take years to get over; but I do not know that I can answer for my brethren.  [Mr. Lynch says he thinks they should not be separated, but live together.  All the other persons present, being questioned one by one, answer that they agree with Brother Frazier.]1

Do you think that there is intelligence enough among the slaves of the South to maintain themselves under the Government of the United States and the equal protection of its laws, and maintain good and peaceable relations among yourselves and with your neighbors?

Answer–I think there is sufficient intelligence among us to do so.

The final question in this portion of the dialogue was a critical point for me to ponder. It came as no surprise given that white supremacy centers on psychological attacks and degradation and propaganda. There has to be the constant and consistent bombardment of things that lower the self-esteem of the Black race until the mentality matches the stereotype of being unintelligent and unmotivated. The more people take this into their psyches, the more this will manifest in the community and they will seek others to hold their hands, teach them, speak for them, and lead them that are not like them. Thereby creating perpetual dependency instead of independence and self-sufficiency.

Intelligence is both that of the mind and of the emotions. There is IQ and EQ-Intelligence Quotient and Emotional Quotient. Many have learned to remain highly emotional and have outburst and hatred toward those that seek to increase their IQ simply because they may not understand that person or a concept or conversation that the person puts forth. White supremacy and its vehicles use this as a self-perpetuating device to destroy the consciousness and unity of the Black community. So, the intelligent amongst us have to see through this, passed this and over it in order to live up to our ancestor’s statement, “I think there is sufficient intelligence among us.”

The sufficiency of my community continues to be challenged by those seeking to remove us from our land. However, as I sat in a meeting for three hours and another for two hours listening to my native Gullah/Geechee people of St. Helena Island, SC in the Gullah/Geechee Nation stand up and speak out in regard to holding onto our land and not allowing others to come in a manipulate the law in order to try to displace our community, it was quite evident that we remain up for the challenge! I was proud to not be able to hear myself speaking at various times due to the applause of support from the group that came and literally stood on the walls to bear witness to yet another historic moment on the Gullah/Geechee Nation‘s coast. I was proud of my Gullah/Geechee St. Helena Famlee fa standin! In that moment, the ancestors came back to let me know that they were proud of us for keeping alive their legacy.

Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation speaks out in Beaufort County, SC to protect the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Protection Overlay District.

As pleased as I was, I barely had time to smile because I knew this was only the beginning of yet another series of battles. Then I was reminded that this was the rest of the dialogue that the preachers had as well. Logically, men would discuss fighting in the midst of a Civil War, but I saw well beyond that in their words. They knew that they had to fight to protect their land and to maintain their freedom. This was now their land. Their blood, sweat and tears were in it as sure as many of our placentas that were buried here on these Sea Islands by the midwives. Who would not fight for that which is your lifeline?

I heard myself with throngs of ancestors singing “Fight on just a little while longer! Pray on just a little while longer! Hold on just a little while longer!” I rested in that moment knowing that the ancestors were tapping their children’s children’s children on the shoulders (and some in the head) awakening them to join in the fight. To take a stand for Gullah/Geechee land! WE BINYA and ain’t gwine nowhey!

Gullah/Geechee Natives of St. Helena Island stand up to fight to protect their cultural heritage and the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Protection Overlay District.

I gave thanks that GOD allowed me to go back to rejuvenate and rest in order to fight on another day. When I emerged, I stepped into another meeting and in less than 10 minutes there, I was nominated to chair the St. Helena Island Cultural Protection Overlay District Committee once again. This zoning district was formed in order to protect the Gullah/Geechee culture of historic St. Helena Island and its surrounding islands. Interestingly enough, in the room that evening were approximately 20 people to bear witness to the continuation of our Gullah/Geechee legacy. When I emerged from that room that evening this January, I felt those twenty preachers walking with me.

WEBE Gullah/Geechee and WEBE FREE! Asé and AMEN!


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