The Gullah Geechee Nation

Yesterday, we went to the Gullah/Geechee Nation and met with their queen, Queen Quet. Most people haven’t heard of Gullah, but I remember the TV show Gullah Gullah Island from when I was little, so I knew a little bit about their culture and whereabouts. When she got on our bus, she was wearing clothes from the 19th century and started speaking Gullah. We were all so confused and tried to just pay attention anyway. All of a sudden, she starting speaking English without an accent, and everyone was like “WOAH! What?” I personally was surprised how well-spoken she was. She took us on a tour on the bus, and we got to see places like a typical praise house, a senior citizen center, and the Chapel of Ease, which was built using tabby, shells, and bricks. Everyone asked really great questions and we learned so much from Queen Quet. For instance, the Gulllah/Geechee Nation was established July 2, 2000 to help preserve their unique culture and land.

In addition, it’s rare for families to have one child and sometimes they have as many as 20 kids! The tour was just so awesome and I loved learning about the Gullah culture. After the tour, we went to lunch at Gullah Grub Restaurant, where we had a seafood lunch filled with shrimp and shark.  It was an experience. Also, Queen Quet shed her old school clothes and wore a beautiful African-inspired dress with a hair style fit for a queen, decked out with a cowry shell headpiece that simply resembled a tiara.

After lunch, we had a workshop with Queen Quet and learned about how Africans in times of slavery used drums and other forms of music to communicate with each other.  It was such an awesome workshop, and we had interesting conversations/discussions afterwards. Queen Quet was amazing.  She even has a Facebook page and Twitter! It definitely taught me (or re-taught me) not to judge a book by its cover.

Alex Wiggins, JR Masterman High School, OU ‘10

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