Given that the native founded and operated organizations and institutions were established to insure that their culture is accurate represented and presented, they continue to carry out their missions in spite of the opposition and lack of support that they receive from the new organizations that came into being after them. These native Gullah/Geechee organizations and institutions are the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition, Gullah/Geechee Angel Network. Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Committee of Northeast Florida, and Geechee Kunda.
“As Rita Mae Brown put it ‘Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.’ A Gullah/Geechee proverb says: ‘Ef hunnuh ain kno whey hunnuh dey frum, hunnuh ain gwine kno whey hunnuh gwine.’ ‘Absolutely nothing is so important for a nation’s culture as its language.’
On April 1, 1999, Marquetta L. Goodwine whose roots stem from St. Helena, Polowana, and Dataw Islands in Beaufort County, SC sat down before the world in Genéva, Switzerland. She became the first Gullah/Geechee to speak before the United Nations Human Rights Commission. She had no idea that when the clock on the wall stopped at zero that a clock that would be ticking to alter the trajectory of her life would begin running. She has been running in syncopation with it ever since.
“We Journey” and “Gwine Home” are both Gullah/Geechee family sagas set on the Sea Islands. Youths in both books learn their culture and their family stories from the elders in their families while also alerting their family members to the environmental changes happening around them. From battling climate change and sea level rise to hurricanes and destructionment, these two novels bring out how native Gullah/Geechees that are holding onto their land come together to face these issues that continue to encroach on the sustainability of the Gullah/Geechee Nation.
De “#GullahGeechee2020: Seeing Gullah/Geechee Culcha Clearly” celebration will not only consist of on Gullah/Geechee Famlee Day. This year there will be a Gullah/Geechee Famlee Day at the Gullah Museum of Georgetown, SC in celebration of Black History Month and there will be a Gullah/Geechee Famlee Weekend on Jekyll Island, GA.
ueen Quet, Chieftess, Elder Carlie Towne, Minister of Information, Dr. Najmah Thomas, and Dr. Jessica Berry of the Gullah/Geechee Nation opened the “Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) Conference” with a session entitled “Historical Effects of Migration on Gullah/Geechee Cultural Continuation.”
The Gullah/Geechee community that has been self-sufficient and resilient in this area since the 1600s is now faced with an on-slaught of challenges to the continuation of their culture on their own land which has been passed down since the US Civil War. They are not only dealing with issues of economic inequity, but also environmental injustice which has and continues to cause displacement of Gullah/Geechee from the southeastern coast. For those that remain there, they are literally on the front shoreline of climate change and sea level rise.
Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation who was homegrown on historic St. Helena and Polowana Islands, SC in the Gullah/Geechee Nation has embarked on her annual world tour themed “Healin’ de Land.”
Those tides are now called “king tides” throughout the Gullah/Geechee Nation and that king has dethrowned cotton. Aaah, but this king now has an elected Queen that is facing him and the other members of his climate changing and environmentally impacting family head on-Queen Quet!
When I started out doing this work over almost 4 decades ago, no one else used the term “Gullah/Geechee” and now it is a hashtag unto itself. I was led to put the two words together in order to unify my people who had been separated by those that truly sought to destroy our spirits and exploit our abilities in the process. The fortunate reality is that there are people around the world that now know of the existence of #GullahGeechee history, heritage, and culture. However, the unfortunate thing is that due to the saturation of the entertainment and tourist markets with storytelling and misleading representations via museums, replicated sites, non-Gullah/Geechee operated events, tourism agencies, and now even museums that seek to exploit grant money, the work that the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition and the leaders of the Gullah/Geechee Nation are doing has become that much more difficult.
Gullah/Geechee Nation Appreciation Week 2015 will be celebrated throughout the South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida portions of the Gullah/Geechee Nation’s coast July 25-August 2, 2015. Queen Quet states, “We gwine tru de coast fa keep de culcha!” The week will be a journey into the living traditions of native Gullah/Geechees as those that want to learn about this unique indigenous national linguistic and ethnic minority take Gullah/Geechee owned and operated tours to Gullah/Geechee businesses and historic sites .Everyone is invited to come out and enjoy the events that are highlights of this nine days of activities which will honor the lives and legacies of the Emanuel 9.
This July 2nd I see all of this and I see that GOD has shown me to continue to do the work to which and for which I am called because there is somebody somewhere to whom this work makes a difference and whose life will be better because they can truly be free because Denmark Vesey, Patrice Lumumba, Clementa C. Pinckney and I took this journey.
In the wake of the recent tragedy during which the Gullah/Geechee Nation lost nine of its citizens during what has been deemed the “Charleston Massacre,” they continue to walk on with the pride and dignity of their ancestors as they come out of a period of mourning into a time of celebration. What would be an annual time to celebrate Gullah/Geechee traditions and culture is now also a time to celebrate the lives of the Emanuel 9. The Gullah/Geechee Nation will have a series of events that will take place during the month of July in order to honor the legacies of these nine souls and to bring the Gullah/Geechee family together on the coast from Jacksonville, NC to Jacksonville, FL.
Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com) took the time to do an anniversary episode of “Gullah/Geechee Riddim Radio” to detail her journey becoming the first Gullah/Geechee in world history to speak before the United Nations on behalf of Gullah/Geechees.
The 1st South Carolina Volunteers proved that they stood as proud Gullah/Geechee men and did not flinch. Yet, with all their bravery, there has been no acknowledgement of them in the education system of South Carolina throughout the years. The Gullah/Geechee Nation Hall of Fame long since acknowledged these Black men and women such as Suzie King Taylor who were primarily from our coast and who fought for us and for our day of emancipation to come.
Many that visit Savannah, GA are blessed by the opportunity to spend an exciting and unpredictable historic journey through the city with Dr. Amir Jamal Toure on the DayClean Journey (www.DayCleanSoul.com). Dr. Toure is a wealth of information regarding Pan Africanism and Gullah/Geechee culture and this wealth is shared freely on his tours and via his Dayclean de African Spirit presentations.
I expected to travel to Hilton Head to celebrate with the Bluffton-Hilton Head MLK Observance Committee and the Gullah/Geechee Famlee at the “2nd Annual Black Excellence Ball” and embrace Dr. Amir Jamal Toure for receiving the “Social Justice Award” and Mr. Thomas Barnwell, who is a former board member for Penn Center, Inc., for receiving the “Lifetime Achievement Award.” I did not expect to not only receive my award, but also to scream at the top of my lungs when the “Penn Center Heritage Days Celebration” won the “Best Community Event Award.”
Beaufort County staff recently recommended the plan for the resort on Bay Point be denied. But earlier this week, the destructioneers attempted to persuade staff to reverse its decision. County staffers are currently considering their argument and supplemental materials. A final decision will be made next week. We’ll keep you updated. Anticipating that staff will hold steady, the destructioneers have already appealed their case to the Zoning Board of Appeals, which will hear their argument on February 27.
Although public comments are not generally allowed at the ZBOA meeting, we hope you’ll attend and support the staff’s decision. You can also email Beaufort County Planner Eric Greenway at EGreenway@bcgov.net with questions and comments.
The Beaufort County Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting will be held on February 27 at 5 p.m. at the Beaufort County Government Robert Smalls Complex, 100 Ribaut Road, Beaufort, SC
Please continue to sign our petition in opposition to this resort:
Here is a link to the Island Packet’s article regarding the reason that staff has correctly found that this is NOT an “ecotourism” project:
Among the many global leaders engaged in work to heal the land and waterways is The Art-ivist, Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com). Queen Quet will join others for the Earth Optimism Summit in Washington, DC in April.
The Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition, the Gullah/Geechee Sustainability Think Tank, and the Gullah/Geechee Fishing Association have stood up against seismic gun testing and offshore drilling for several years. They had to also stand up against new destructionment coming to traditional Gullah/Geechee fishing ground at Bay Point in Beaufort County, SC.
As I traveled the road in my home county of Beaufort, SC, I reflected on when a road got named after Heavy Weight Boxing Champion of the World, Smokin’ Joe Frazier. People that see that road here may wonder why since many people incorrectly believe that Smokin’ Joe was from Philadelphia where they have a statue of the fictional boxer, “Rocky” and didn’t place one there for Joe. So, to help folks get the truth, I thought it would be appropriate to honor someone that I knew and loved on his birthday, January 12th by setting the record straight.