Gullah/Geechee Chieftess Queen Quet was awarded the Order of the Palmetto this week, the state’s highest civilian honor, by Gov. Henry McMaster. Queen Quet, also known as Marquetta L. Goodwine, founded the Gullah/Geechie Sea Island Coalition in 1996 to protect Gullah/Geechee culture.

The Order of the Palmetto is one of many honors for the chieftess and head-of-state for the Gullah/Geechee Nation, who has received 300 awards for her various efforts to preserve Gullah/Geechee culture as well as advocating for environmental justice. McMaster’s recognition came for “a lifetime of extraordinary achievement, service and contributions on a national or statewide scale,” he said.

Queen Quet is the first St. Helena native to receive the prestigious award, she said.

A celebration 5 p.m. Friday at the Cannon Street Arts Center coincides with the launch of Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Awareness Month during the MOJA Arts Festival‘s Art Experience reception at the Cannon Street Arts Center.

The event is free and open to the public, but individuals who are interested in attending should RSVP online.

Anyone looking to learn more about Queen Quet’s work and the history of Gullah/Geechee culture can attend the Gullah/Geechee Artistry event during the MOJA Arts Festival at the College of Charleston this Saturday.

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