“ESCAPING TO DESTINATIONS SOUTH AND FIXICO”
The photo and book cover represent the NATIONAL PARKS SERVICE NATIONAL UNDERGROUND RAILROAD 2012 CONFERENCE, dedicated to GULLAH GEECHEE AND BLACK SEMINOLE DESCENDANTS. I was thrilled to be a part of it. Eleven documented Descendants were selected from the Western Hemisphere, they were: Texas: William “Dub” Warrior and Rafaella “Effie” Brown. Mexico: Genevieve Payne Vincent and Fred Payne. Bahamas: Winton Russell, Henry Wallce, Gertrude Gibson and Rita Pratt. Gullah/Geechee: MaQuetta “Queen Quet” Goodwine and Vermelle Bunny Rodrigues. and California: Phil “Pompey” Fixico. As a member of the 11 documented descendants , We were treated with great respect. As soon as we arrived in St. Augustine, Florida, we were given VIP Descendant Identification cards. I was asked to give the Welcome for the Oklahoma Descendants, because I’m the g-grandson of Oklahoma Seminole Nation Caesar Bruner Band Leader “Papa” Caesar Bruner, unfortunately the Oklahoma Representative could not attend. Mr. William L. Katz, gave the keynote speech. It was my great honor to introduce the great Author of “Black Indians” . In my introduction of Mr. Katz. I described him as the “Father of Black Indian Studies in the United States”.http://williamlkatz.com/escaping-to-destinations-south-key…/
I have supplied a link and transcript of of Mr. Katz Address. It truly was a “culturally and historically significant ” conference. it was an awesome event put on by the National Underground Railroad/ Network to Freedom program under the superb direction of Diane Miller who is the National Manager for the program. I was so impressed that I asked Mr. Guy Washington, Regional Manager for the Pacific West Division, this question: “Mr. Washington, is this “REPARATIONS” ? Mr. Washington , replied, ” No, the United States government does use the word ,Reparations for events like this. Reparations is a legal term like Affirmative Action, the term the US government uses for things like this is , Reconciliation, meaning that the government knows that they did something wrong and they are now doing something to reconcile that fact”. Later I learned that President Obama’s administration has a policy of reconciliation as evidenced by the Cobell and Black Farmers settlement. The reason why the conference was for Gullah/Geechee and Black seminoles is because there is a strong connection between the the two peoples. A good portion of Black Seminoles were Gullah/Geechee Pioneers who escaped the Carolinas and Georgia to take asylum in Spanish Florida, where they formed alliances with the Seminole Indians. In the photo below, a few of the Descendants are standing behind the Gullah/Geechee Nation Flag.They are, Henry Wallace, Queen Quet, Pompey Fixico, William Warrior and Winton Russell.