Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation
Queen Quet Marquetta L. Goodwine is a published author, computer scientist, lecturer, mathematician, historian, columnist, preservationist, environmental justice advocate, environmentalist, film consultant, and “The Art-ivist.” She is the founder of the premiere advocacy organization for the continuation of Gullah/Geechee culture, the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition.
Queen Quet has not only provided “histo-musical presentations” throughout the world, but was also the first Gullah/Geechee person to speak on behalf of her people before the United Nations in Genevé, Switzerland. Queen Quet was one of the first of seven inductees in the Gullah/Geechee Nation Hall of Fame. She received the “Anointed Spirit Award” for her leadership and for being a visionary.
In 2008, she was recorded at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France at a United Nations Conference in order to have the human rights story of the Gullah/Geechee people archived for the United Nations. In 2009, she was invited by the Office of the High Commissioner of the United Nations to come and present before the newly founded “Minority Forum” as a representative of the Gullah/Geechee Nation and the International Human Rights Association for American Minorities (IHRAAM) which is an NGO in consultative status with the United Nations. Queen Quet is a directorate member for IHRAAM and for the International Commission on Human Rights. She represented these bodies and the Gullah/ Geechee Nation at the “United Nations Forum on Minority Rights.” She also represented IHRAAM and the Gullah/Geechee Nation at the UN's Conference of Parties 22 (COP22) in Morocco. She returned to the UN for the Oceans Conference in 2017 and in 2018 she represented her people at the Global Climate Action Summit.
Due to Queen Quet advancing the idea of keeping the Gullah/Geechee culture alive, the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition under the leadership of Queen Quet, worked with US Congressman James Clyburn to insure that the United States Congress would work to assist the Gullah/Geechees. Queen Quet then acted as the community leader to work with the United States National Park Service to conduct several meetings throughout the Gullah/Geechee Nation for the “Special Resource Study of Lowcountry Gullah Culture.” Due to the fact that Gullah/Geechees worked to become recognized as one people, Queen Quet wanted to insure that the future congressional act would reflect this in its name and form. As a result in 2006 the “Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Act” was passed by the United States Congress and signed into law by the president.
Queen Quet was vetted with the US White House as an Expert Commissioner in the Department of the Interior. As an expert commissioner, she was also the Chair of the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor General Management Plan. Queen Quet also served as a member of the “National Park Relevancy Committee” and proudly continues to work to protect the environment and to insure that diverse groups of people engage in the outdoors and the policies governing them. Queen Quet has engaged in several White House conferences on this issue. She has also been a part of the United Nations COP 22 Climate Change Conference in Marrakesh, Morocco and COP 25 in Madrid, Spain. She also spoke at the United Nations Ocean Action Summit in Korea.
Queen Quet's global journeys are presented in a weekly broadcast on "Gullah/Geechee TV." Queen Quet has appeared in and consulted for over a dozen films that range from full length action films to historic documentaries. She was the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Consultant for the award winning WGN TV show, “Underground.” She did similar behind the scenes work for feature film, "The Patriot."
Queen Quet has appeared in numerous documentaries. She has been interviewed by national and international media for television, radio, and print. She has been seen and heard on programs in Australia, China, Germany, Mexico, the Bahamas, Canada, England, Ecuador, and different counties in Africa. She is also the hostess of “Gullah/Geechee Nayshun Nyews” and "Gullah/Geechee Riddim Radio." In September 2010, she spoke before a full house and received a 9 minute long standing ovation at the United States National Press Club in Washington, DC after she educated the crowd on the language and continuing traditions of the Gullah/Geechee Nation.
Queen Quet has won countless awards for being a woman of distinction, for her scholarship, writings, artistic presentation, activism, cultural continuation and environmental preservation. Queen Quet was chosen as a TogetherGreen Fellow. Toyota and the Audubon conducted a national search and chose Queen Quet to be a part of this network of environmental conservationists. As a result, she created an on-going program called “Gullah/ Geechee SEA & ME” in which SEA stands for “saving environmental actions” and ME stands for “marine environment.” This program focuses on intergenerational engagement in learning Gullah/Geechee traditions that are beneficial to the Sea Island environment and promotes engagement in citizens science activities.
Queen Quet’s accolades include the United States Jefferson Award for community service, the Jean Laney Folk Heritage Award for Gullah Advocacy from the state of South Carolina, the inaugural “Living Legacy Award” from the Association for the Study of African American Life & History (ASALH), the inaugural HOTEP Award, the inaugural MaVynee Betsch Conservation Award, numerous Woman of Distinction Awards, the National Black Herstory Award, being featured on the “Wall of Heroes” at the National Wilderness Society headquarters in Washington, DC and on the website of The Citadel in Charleston, SC as a woman of honor. She was also presented with the Oceans Hero Award in Washington, DC. She has received several Queen Quet Day, “Gullah/Geechee Days,” and “Gullah/Geechee Nation Appreciation Week” proclamations in various states. She received the “Preserving Our Places in History Lifetime Achievement Award” from the South Carolina African American Heritage Commission. The General Assembly of South Carolina also honored Queen Quet with Resolution 1453 for the work that she has done on behalf of her home state and Gullah/Geechee people locally, nationally, and internationally. In 2018, the South Carolina Coalition for Voter Participation honored her with the Rev. Dr. BJ Whipper Community Service Award for her tireless community service and for her spiritual, economic, and political contributions to her home state. In 2020, the Bluffton-Hilton Head MLK Observance Committee presented her with the "Black Excellence Award." That award was followed by the Georgia Environmental Educators presenting Queen Quet with the "Non-Traditional Environmental Educators Award" in and the American Society of Adaptation Professionals presenting Queen Quet with the Regional Adaptation Leadership Award in 2020.
In 2021, Governor Henry McMaster presented Queen Quet with the highest honor given to a citizen in South Carolina. Queen Quet received the Order of the Palmetto Award for the work that she has done for her home state and especially in protecting and continuing the Gullah/Geechee culture.
Queen Quet was selected, elected, and enstooled by her people to be the first Queen Mother, “head pun de bodee,” and official spokesperson for the Gullah/Geechee Nation. As a result, she is respectfully referred to as “Queen Quet, Chieftess and Head-of-State for the Gullah/Geechee Nation.”