Quilts are an important part of black history in America and elsewhere.
- An overview of quilting and black American history
- The pine cone quilt pattern was popular among black quilters in the south in the early 20th century.
- Harriet Powers was born a slave in 1837. She became an accomplished quilter, and used traditional African applique techniques in her work. Several of her quilts are on display in the Smithsonian Museum.
- Highly recommended: Black Threads, an African American Quilting Sourcebook
Quilts and the Underground Railroad
There is a widespread belief that quilts were used as signals in the Underground Railroad. The idea being that messages were communicated to escaped slaves via the quilt you hung out in the yard. This is disputed by many historians, but the legend lives on. Read more about it:
- Quilts of the Underground Railroad on Wikipedia
- The Underground Railroad quilt code
- Threads of Freedom: The Underground Railroad in Quilts, an art exhibition hosted by Oberlin College
Gee’s Bend is a small, remote community in Alabama which is predominately black. With a history that dates back to the mid-1800s, the women of Gee’s Bend have developed an incredible improvisational quilting style, which has gained worldwide fame.
- Gee’s Bend Quilts at the Souls Grown Deep foundation
- Quilts of Gee’s Bend at Wikipedia
- Visitor’s Guide to Gee’s Bend
Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons