The seamstress would hang the quilts in full view one at a time, allowing the slaves to reinforce their memory of the pattern and its associated meaning. When slaves made their escape, they used their memory of the quilts as a mnemonic device to guide them safely along their journey, according to McDaniel.
What were freedom quilts used for?
Stories and songs around the fire at night were coded messages to teach them the symbols to follow on the road. Abolitionists and freed slaves would make quilts using one coded pattern and hang them outside their homes as signs to lead fleeing slaves on the path to freedom.
Did slaves make quilts?
Slaves made quilts for the plantation family, sometimes under the supervision of the plantation mistress, but WPA interviews attest to the prevalence of quiltmaking in the slave quarters for their own use as well. Some slave seamstresses became highly regarded for their skill.
What does the log cabin quilt mean Underground Railroad?
A Log Cabin quilt hanging in a window with a black center for the chimney hole was said to indicate a safe house. Underground Railroad quilts, a variation of Jacob’s Ladder, were said to give cues as to the safe path to freedom.
How were quilts used a as way to communicate with runaway slaves on the Underground Railroad?
Depending on the pattern, a seemingly innocent quilt left on a porch or fence or hung in a window could signal to slaves on the plantation to get ready to escape (Monkey Wrench pattern), go north (North Star pattern), or zigzag to throw off pursuers (the Drunkard’s Path pattern).
What is the oldest quilt pattern?
The Crazy Quilt is probably the oldest of quilt patterns. Early quilters used any scrap or remnant available, regardless of its color, design, or fabric type.
Why are quilts painted on barns?
Barn quilts began as a way to honor a loved one with a gorgeous piece of folk art. In Adams County, Ohio, in 2001, Donna Sue Groves set out to honor her mother, Maxine, and her quilt art by painting a quilt block on her tobacco barn. The idea was a hit, and soon friends and neighbors wanted painted quilts of their own.
Where did patchwork quilts originate?
Quilting originated in Sweden in the fifteenth century with heavily stitched and appliquéd quilts made for the very wealthy. These quilts, created from silk, wool, and felt, were intended to be both decorative and functional and were found in churches and in the homes of nobility.
Did quilting originate in Africa?
Leon has found that much of the American patchwork quilt tradition may be derived from African designs. Leon further speculates that some patterns that were to become standard in American patchwork quilts originated in African textiles and carried over into African-American quilts.
How did barn quilts get started?
The concept of barn quilts began with Donna Sue Groves and her wish to honor her mother, Maxine, and her Appalachian heritage by having a painted quilt hung on her barn in Adams County, Ohio. As is often the case, good ideas fall by the wayside when work and other obligations intervene.
What are Civil War quilts?
There were two main goals of Civil War quilts: 1) to provide Union and Confederate soldiers with warmth and bedding and, 2) to raise money at fairs for the war effort. Most of the quilts from this time were used to the point of disintegration and they were made to be used, not saved.
What was the quilt theory?
Quilts of the Underground Railroad describes a controversial belief that quilts were used to communicate information to African slaves about how to escape to freedom via the Underground Railroad. It has been disputed by a number of historians.
What is quilt language?
Graphic Wit—the visual language of quilts First and foremost, quilt language is based upon patterns and their manipulation. Quilts speak through their arrangement of visual elements, regardless of whether they are pieced or appliquéd, made with a commonly used pattern or one that is unique to an individual quilt maker.
How old is quilting?
The history of quilting, the stitching together of layers of padding and fabric, may date back as far as 3400 BCE. For much of its history, quilting was primarily a practical technique to provide physical protection and insulation.
Underground Railroad Quilt Codes: What We Know, What We Believe, and What Inspires Us
An embroidered quilt hanging from a clothesline or window sill, according to folklore, marked the location of a safe home along the Underground Railroad. These quilts were infused with a form of code, so that an enslaved person on the run could determine the immediate hazards in the region by reading the shapes and motifs woven into the pattern, as well as where to go next by reading the code. Dress in disguise in order to appear to be of better social position. Bear Paw = Follow an animal route into the mountains in search of water and food, which you will discover.
I can see the potential benefits of such a system.
I really want to think that took place.
Sharon Tindall is a quilter and instructor who lives in Virginia.
- Johnson House, which was built in 1768 in the center of Germantown, has woodwork, flooring, and glass that are all original to the building.
- “I took a tour around the area to see where people slept and ate.
- The presence of the slaves, as well as the Johnson family who protected them, was represented by the hues in the quilt’s sky.
- In Sharon Tindall’s “The Johnson House,” a cotton batik, Dupioni silk, tulle netting, and Swarovski crystals are used to create a 40 by 28-inch piece of art.
- Tindall is a believer in and supporter of codes, despite the fact that not all of her quilts are coded.
- Our dialogue dragged on for weeks as I pressed for more specific details about how they were being used.
- Quilts were frequently produced to mark key family events like as marriage, a child’s birth, or the relocation of the family to a new location.
Toni Tindall’s narrative compositions are made up of a variety of fabrics, including cottons, raw Dupioni silk, Swarovski crystals, natural fibers, Mali mud cloth,and even glitter, to portray the spiritual and intangible elements of the story.
When she points to the blazing horizon line on herquilt, The Johnson House, she adds that the orange represents life or light.
In the years leading up to 1999, the codes were virtually unknown, even among members of the African American quilting community.
Hidden in Plain View: A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad, written by Jaqueline Tobin and Raymond G.
In collaboration with National Geographic and the Kennedy Center, curriculum for primary schools were designed that included references to the codes.
When we read an inspirational article online that is posted in Times New Roman, we prefer to take it as fact without questioning it.
“Almost every February, pieces of African-American history emerge in newspapers across the country,” MacDowell adds, referring to Black History Month.
Perhaps the rules for experiencing belief vs experiencing reality are just different.
There are no dates, instances, or first-person testimonies.
Evidence is required before something may be considered a fact.
According to studies of quilts manufactured during these years, the proof for some of these designs simply does not exist, so shattering the grip of this enthralling story’s engaging narrative.
Sharon Tindall provided the photograph.
It is now safe to remove your chains and shackles because you have a double wedding ring.
I inquired of Tindall about the significance of the Flying Geese quilt pattern and how it aided runaways on the Underground Railroad.
“Follow the geese as they fly north.” Look for or listen for geese moving north in the spring if the skies aren’t clear.
It read more like a poem or a nursery rhyme to me.
They were meant to physically follow the geese, right?
Although you may or may not agree with Tindall’s interpretation, you could agree that her view gives artistic grounds for believing as opposed to actuality.
“If people’s lives are on the line, it only seems sense that there would be no race of the quilts,” explains quilt researcher Mary Twining-Baird, who resides in Atlanta.
” If anyone learned the truth, they may literally lose their lives.” She specializes in kente clothquilts manufactured on the Sea Island chain, which stretches from South Carolina to Georgia to Florida, but she takes a strong position against quilt codes.
“Of course it was an amap!” says the author.
After all this time, they have either vanished or been shattered to bits.
The artist has provided permission for the use of his photograph.
She is attempting to explain or offer supporting evidence for her believe in quiltcodes, which is analogous to someone attempting to explain or provide supporting evidence for their belief in God.
The following is what she sent to me: “I consider myself a believer in Jesus Christ as well as a lady of Faith, storyteller, and acreator of quilts.” “I’ve taken the things that God has given me and I’m giving them back to Him via the quilt codes,” says the author of the book.
If we sincerely believe something, as Tindall thinks that enslaved people going north were directed by the Flying Geese design in quilts, it is possible that we may have difficulty distinguishing between belief and truth.
So it is with the Kaluli people of Papua New Guinea, who believe that the souls of their ancestors take up residence in various animals, such as pigs and birds, after they die.
Stories, recipes, personal experiences, and everything else that was whispered to us when we were children frequently trump scientific fact.
A classic block design, the North Star, is combined with a Jacob’s Ladder block pattern to create this quilt by Sharon Tindall.
Sharon Tindall provided the photograph.
Is it possible that these quilts are causing harm to anyone?
“I’ve discovered that some individuals have a difficult time believing or thinking about things they cannot see or touch,” Tindall explains.
Detroit’s African American population expanded by more than 600 percent between 1910 and 1920, according to the United States Census Bureau.
They brought quilts and tales of the enslaved South with them wherever they traveled.
The interviews conducted by MacDowell’s team numbered around fifty.
“Follow the Drinking Gourd (Green),” by Sharon Tindall, 2019, green batik on printed cotton, 26.5 × 26.5″ Sharon Tindall provided the photograph.
Her grandmother also taught her this.
The problem with theHiddenin Plain Viewbook is that it leads the reader to believe that every African American quilter had their needle pointed north.
Was her being white a contributing factor to her not hearing the story?
She is very aware of how widespread the myth of patchwork codes has gone.
While conducting research on quilts in South Africa, she met a group of modern quilters who, “lo and behold!” had heard about the book and had begun coding quilts of their own.
“It’s a fact of life.” Perhaps the code, whether true or not, serves as a vehicle for African Americans to explore the trauma they inherited—as well as the possibility of redemption.
They were braiding in the same code she was using, which she was surprised to find out.
Some African American women are now making coded quilts for their daughters and granddaughters, and this will continue to be the case in the future.
The genealogy of patchwork code-using artists is now well-established.
In her spare time, MarieClaire Bryant works as a poet, storyteller, and archivist at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage in New York City.
She formerly worked as the director of publication for the Cfile Foundation, where she wrote, edited, and published significantly on the subject of modern and historic ceramic arts, among other things.
Quilts of the Underground Railroad – Wikipedia
Describes a contentious concept that quilts were used to relay information to African slaves about how they may escape to freedom via the Underground Railroad, as described in Quilts of the Underground Railroad. A lot of historians have expressed their disagreement with this claim.
Books that emphasize quilt use
In her book, Stitched from the Soul (1990), Gladys-Marie Fry asserted that quilts were used to communicate safe houses and other information about the Underground Railroad, which was a network of “conductors,” meeting places, and safe houses that ran through the United States and into Canada, facilitating the emancipation of African Americans from slavery and into freedom. Historiologists, on the other hand, are divided on whether quilts and songs were used to spread information about the Underground Railroad.
Ozella McDaniel Williams provided the inspiration for the book, telling Tobin that her family had handed down a narrative for centuries about how quilt designs such as wagon wheels, log homes, and wrenches were used to help slaves travel the Underground Railroad.
It began with a monkey wrench, which signified the need to gather all of the essential goods and equipment, and concluded with a star, which signified the need to travel north.
Tobin noted in a 2007 Time magazine article: “It’s distressing to be attacked while also being denied the opportunity to commemorate this remarkable oral history of one family’s experience.” I have no clue whether or not it is totally valid, but it seems sense given the quantity of research we conducted.” “I believe there has been a tremendous lot of misunderstanding concerning the code,” Dobard stated.
When Jackie and I wrote the book, we set out to suggest that it was a collection of directions.
“In Africa, there is a long-standing history of secret organizations controlling the coding of information.
In order to acquire the deeper meaning of symbols, you must first demonstrate your merit of knowing these higher meanings by not disclosing them to others,” she explained. The foreword of Hidden in Plain View was written by Wahlman.
Giles Wright, a specialist on the Underground Railroad, claims that the book is based on legend that has not been corroborated by any reliable sources. He also stated that there are no quilting codes mentioned in any memoirs, diaries, or Works Progress Administration interviews done in the 1930s with ex-slaves that have been discovered. Quilt historians Kris Driessen, Barbara Brackman, and Kimberly Wulfert do not subscribe to the premise that quilts were used to transmit messages about the Underground Railroad, as claimed by certain historians.
- Well-known historians did not feel that the idea was correct and could not see any relationship between Douglass and this viewpoint.
- Blight “At some time, the true stories of fugitive slave escape, as well as the far bigger story of those slaves who were never able to flee, must take precedence over fiction as a primary focus of educational endeavors.
- Despite this, there are museums, schools, and other organizations who think the narrative is factual.
- Using the quilts as an example, he compares the code to the phrase in ” Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” in which slaves intended fleeing but their owners believed they were going to die.
- Giles Wright, a specialist on the Underground Railroad, claims that the book is based on folklore that has not been corroborated by other sources and so cannot be trusted. His research also revealed that there are no quilting codes mentioned in any of the ex-slave memoirs, diaries, or Work Progress Administration interviews done in the 1930s. Driessen, Barbara Brackman, and Kimberly Wulfert, three quilt historians, do not agree with the premise that quilts were used to transmit information about the Underground Railroad. After plans for a sculpture of Frederick Douglass at a corner of Central Park called for a huge quilt in granite to be placed in the ground to symbolize the manner in which slaves were aided along the Underground Railroad, the controversy surrounding the hypothesis grew even more intense in 2007 and 2008. The concept was rejected by well-known historians, who recognized no relationship between Douglass and his rejection of the notion. David W. Blight, a Civil War historian, explained “When it comes to teaching priorities, the true stories of fugitive slave escape, as well as the far bigger story of those slaves who were never able to flee, must take precedence. Not a piece of folklore that was largely invented in the 1990s, but rather a real and significant aspect of his life and thought, rather than a soft, happier version of the history of slavery that distracts us from confronting harsher truths and a more compelling past, as has been the case in recent years.” “Fake history,” according to Fergus Bordewich, author of Bound for Canaan: The Underground Railroad and the War for the Soul of America, is being promoted based on the incorrect notion that underground railroad operations were carried out in such a way that the reality is “basically unknown.” Most of the persons who were able to successfully escape slavery, according to him, were “enterprising and well educated.” The myth is believed to be real by a number of establishments such as museums, schools, and others. According to John Reddick, who worked on the Douglass sculpture project for Central Park, it is ironic that historians seek written documentation of slaves who were not permitted to read or write. Using the quilts as an example, he compares the code to the phrase in ” Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” in which slaves intended escape but their owners believed they were about to be killed.
- Celeste-Marie Bernier and Hannah Durkin are two of the most talented people in the world (2016). Across the African Diaspora, artists have created artworks that depict slavery. pp. 76–77, published by Oxford University Press. Jacqueline L. Tobin and Raymond G. Dobard (ISBN 978-1-78138-267-7) are the authors (1999). Quilts and the Underground Railroad have a secret history that has been kept hidden in plain sight. Doubleday Publishing Company, New York, N.Y., ISBN 0-385-49137-9
- Abc Stacie Stukin is a woman who lives in the United States (2007-04-03). “Unraveling the Myth of Quilts and the Underground Railroad” is a book on quilts and the Underground Railroad. TIME. The original version of this article was published on April 29, 2007. Obtainable on January 23, 2013
- Abcdef Noam Cohen is a writer and musician from New York City (January 23, 2007). Douglass Tribute is a work in which Slave Folklore and Fact collide. The New York Times is a newspaper published in New York City. ISSN0362-4331. Donna Lagoy and Laura Seldman (Donna Lagoy and Laura Seldman, eds) (September 5, 2016). Chester, New York, was a stop on the Underground Railroad in the Adirondacks. p. 128. ISBN 978-1-62585-701-9
- Reynolds, Glenn (2007). “quilts.” Arcadia Publishing Incorporated. p. 128. ISBN 978-1-62585-701-9
- Reynolds, Glenn (2007). “quilts.” According to Junius P. Rodriguez (ed.). The Slave Resistance and Rebellion Encyclopedia is a resource for those interested in the history of slave resistance and rebellion. Pages 407–409 in Greenwood Publishing Group’s book. 978-0-313-33273-9
- ISBN 978-0-313-33273-9 Andrew Bartholomew is a writer and poet (February 1, 2007). “Prof. Douglass debunks the Douglass myth.” The Yale Daily News is a daily newspaper published by Yale University. Donna Lagoy and Laura Seldman (Donna Lagoy and Laura Seldman, 2017)
- Retrieved on March 19, 2017. (September 5, 2016). Chester, New York, was a stop on the Underground Railroad in the Adirondacks. Publisher: Arcadia Publishing Incorporated, p. 127, ISBN: 978-1-62585-701-9
- ISBN: 978-1-62585-701-9 Barbara Brackman is a writer and editor who lives in New York City (November 5, 2010). FactsFabrications-Unraveling the History of QuiltsSlavery: 8 Projects – 20 Blocks – First-Person AccountsFactsFabrications-Unraveling the History of QuiltsSlavery: 8 Projects – 20 Blocks – First-Person Accounts C T Publishing Inc., p. 7, ISBN 978-1-60705-386-6
- AbFergus M. Bordewich, p. 7, ISBN 978-1-60705-386-6
- (February 2, 2007). “History’s Tangled Threads” (History’s Tangled Threads). The New York Times is a newspaper published in New York City. ISSN0362-4331. 30 April 2012
- Retrieved 30 April 2012
- Diane Cole is a woman who works in the fashion industry (2012). “Were Quilts Used as Underground Railroad Maps? – US News and World Report” (Were Quilts Used as Underground Railroad Maps?) usnews.com. 30th of April, 2012
- Brackman, Barbara (1997)Quilts from the Civil War: Nine Projects, Historic Notes, and Diary Entries, ISBN1-57120-033-9
- Burns, Eleanor
- Sue Bouchard (1997)Quilts from the Civil War: Nine Projects, Historic Notes, and Diary Entries, ISBN1-57120-033-9 (2003). The Underground Railroad Sampler is a collection of short stories about the Underground Railroad. Isbn 978-1-891776-13-7
- Cord, Xenia (Quilt in a Day) (March 2006). “The Underground Railroad” is a term that refers to a network of tunnels and passageways that connect cities to the rest of the world. Patchwork is really popular right now.14 (3). Fellner, Leigh (2010) “Betsy Ross redux: The quilt code.”
- Frazier, Harriet C. (2012) “Betsy Ross redux: The quilt code” (1 July 2004). Runaway and freed Missouri slaves, as well as those who assisted them, were documented between 1763 and 1865. McFarland & Company, Inc., p. 168. ISBN 978-0-7864-1829-9. Rice, Kym S., et al., eds., retrieved on April 30, 2012. (2011). 978-0-313-34944-7 (World of a Slave: A-I). ABC-CLIO, p. 390. ISBN 978-0-313-34944-7 (World of a Slave: A-I). Turner, Patricia A., et al., eds., retrieved 30 April 2012. (2009). The book Crafted Lives: Stories and Studies of African American Quilters by Shelley Zegart is available on Amazon (2008) Shelley Zegart debunks the myth of the African American Quilt Scholarship and the technique behind it. Pages 48–56 in Selvedge, (ISSN 1742-254X) Issue 21 (Jan/Feb 2008), published by the University of California Press.
Were Quilts Used as Underground Railroad Maps?
Eleanor Burns and Sue Bouchard published Quilts from the Civil War: Nine Projects, Historic Note-Taking, and Diary Entries in 1997. Brackman, Barbara (1997)Quilt from the Civil War: Nine Projects, Historic Note-Taking, and Diary Entries in ISBN1-57120-033-9; Burns, Eleanor; Sue Bouchard (2003). Underground Railroad Sampler is a collection of stories about the Underground Railroad. Isbn 978-1-891776-13-7; Cord, Xenia “Quilt in a Day” (March 2006). Underground Railroad is a term that refers to a network of underground tunnels that connect cities to one another and to the rest of the world.
- Fellner, Leigh (2010) “Betsy Ross redux: The quilt code.”; Frazier, Harriet C.
- Those who assisted runaway and freed Missouri slaves between 1763 and 1865.
- ISBN: 978-0-7864-1829-9.
- Rice, Kym S., et al., eds., retrieved 30 April 2012; (2011).
- ISBN 978-0-313-34944-7 (World of a Slave: A-I).
- Turner, Patricia A.
The book Crafted Lives: Stories and Studies of African American Quilters by Shelley Zegart is available on Amazon.com (2008) Unraveling the African American Quilt Scholarship Myth and Methodology by Shelley Zegart Pages 48–56 in Selvedge, (ISSN 1742-254X), Issue 21 (Jan/Feb 2008).
Underground Railroad Quilt
I recently discovered about the Underground Railroad Quilt, which is a fable or myth about how quilts were used to communicate with escaping slaves during the Underground Railroad era. Now, I’m not a quilter because I’m just too impatient. But I adore riddles and patterns, and I’m fascinated by how quilters transform bits of fabric into pieces of art using their imaginations, their hands, and their patience. In addition, quilts with hidden codes embroidered into them are quite interesting. Here’s a quick rundown of the past: Before the Civil War, the Underground Railroad was a network of liberated slaves and abolitionists who worked together to provide slaves with hidden passageways, safe houses, and food as they made their way north to free states and Canadian territory.
- The act of teaching slaves how to read or write was also prohibited by law, making communication difficult and perhaps dangerous.
- Stories and songs told around a campfire at night were coded messages intended to educate them the symbols they would encounter on the path ahead of them.
- American-Historama.org (Click on the image to be taken to the source) Monkey Wrench – Collect the items you’ll need to travel, create a shelter, and protect yourself in the wilderness.
- Crossroads– This symbol represented Cleveland, Ohio, a place where various paths lead to liberty.
- Change out of your slave garments and into your freedmen’s attire.
- North Star – Pay attention to the North Star.
- Is it true or false?
The achievements of the Underground Railroad are nothing short of astounding.
Their efforts were impeded by rules that made it unlawful to aid fugitive slaves in their pursuit of freedom.
They put their livelihoods and, in some cases, their lives at stake.
Slave yet free at the same time.
There are two classes of people: the rich and the poor.
They provided slaves with the TOOLS they need in order to live.
They offered SAFE HOUSES as well as SUPPORT during the journey.
Today, we are confronted with a different, but no less destructive, form of slavery.
Slavery is against the law.
It is remarkable to reflect on the progress made in the movement to eradicate human trafficking, protect the vulnerable, and provide support to victims and survivors since the historic passage of Proposition 35/CASE Act, which was proposed by California Against Slavery and the Safer California Foundation in 2012.
And, most recently, the state budget included a recurring $10 million allocation for human trafficking services and support programs.
Dedicated public servants and committed service providers are working together in counties, cities, and communities across our state to provide public awareness campaigns, housing, transitional living support, health services, counseling, education, and legal assistance, as well as to expand services to underserved populations.
- Let’s take a look back at the lessons learned in the past.
- Work in a collaborative environment.
- Follow in the footsteps of the survivors.
- Provide life skills and education to those who need it.
- Be fearless and forward-thinking.
and how to get in touch with them. This is a resource that is alive and breathing. We know that some of you may have been overlooked; thus, please submit your organizationshere. I’m honored to serve beside you. Ginger Shaw is a woman who works in the fashion industry.
Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews
This week, I learnt about an urban legend or myth about how quilts were used to communicate with fugitive slaves aboard the Underground Railroad. Quilting, on the other hand, is not my forte; I’m far too eager for it. Nonetheless, I enjoy puzzles and patterns, and I’m fascinated by how quilters transform leftovers into pieces of art using their imaginations, inventive hands, and patience. In addition, quilts with hidden codes embroidered into them are quite appealing. Here’s a quick run-down of the past: Before the Civil War, the Underground Railroad was a network of emancipated slaves and abolitionists who worked together to provide slaves traveling north to free states and Canada with hidden routes, safe houses, and food.
- Slavery was also prohibited under the law, which made communication difficult and even dangerous.
- It was via stories and songs spoken around the fire at night that they learned the symbols they needed to know to get by on the trail.
- American-Historama.org To view the source, please click on the image.
- Bear’s Paw– To get to water and food, go up mountain routes and follow the bears’ track.
- Shelter in a Log Cabin Put on your best bow tie and look the part!
- Observe the North Star and follow it.
- Does it matter if it’s true or false?
This feat of the Underground Railroad is nothing short of astounding.
Due to rules that made it unlawful to assist fugitive slaves, their efforts were hindered.
At some cases, they were putting their livelihoods and even their lives in danger.
I am both a slave and a free person.
There are two classes of people: the wealthy and the impoverished Both north and south are represented.
They provided slaves with the TOOLS they need in order to live.
On their journey, they supplied SAFE HOUSES as well as SUPPORT.
Slavery exists now in a new form, but it is no less destructive.
In the United States, slavery is unconscionable.
It is remarkable to reflect on the progress made in the movement to eradicate human trafficking, protect the vulnerable, and provide support to victims and survivors since the historic passage of Proposition 35/CASE Act, which was proposed by California Against Slaveryand the Safer California Foundation in 2012.
Most recently, the state budget contained a recurring $10 million allocation for human trafficking services and assistance.
Public awareness campaigns, housing, transitional living support, health services, counseling, education, and legal assistance are all being provided by dedicated public servants and committed service providers in counties, cities, and communities across our state to increase access to services for underserved populations.
- Looking back in time, we can learn a lot.
- Cooperative effort is required to achieve success.
- Maintain your focus on following in the footsteps of survivors.
- Assist in the healing and restoration of spiritual integrity.
- To learn more about what is available in your region.
- see our new CASStatewide Directory of Services.
This is a resource that is alive and thriving today. Please submit your groups here if we have missed any of you. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you. The honor of serving beside you, thank you. Shaw, Ginger is a woman that works in the fashion industry.
Fact or Fiction: Were Quilts Used As Secret Codes for Slaves on the Underground Railroad?
The symbols that are employed in quilting have a convoluted or unknown background, which makes them very interesting. They are now recognized as the designs that distinguish antique quilts as unusual and one-of-a-kind. However, there are many who have long assumed that the symbols employed in quilts of the South during slavery were really utilized as secret signals for slaves fleeing on the Underground Railroad, and they are correct in their assumption. The majority of specialists now wonder whether this truly occurred.
courtesy of the Library of Congress
The Underground Railroad
A tangled or obscure history frequently surrounds the symbols that are employed in quilt creation. The designs that distinguish antique quilts as unusual and one-of-a-kind are what we are familiar with today. However, there are many who have long assumed that the symbols employed in quilts of the South during slavery were really utilized as secret signals for slaves fleeing on the Underground Railroad, and they are correct in their assumptions. Currently, the majority of specialists are divided on whether or not this occurred.
Thanks to the Library of Congress for their assistance
The Quilt Code
The symbols that are utilized in quilting have a convoluted or unknown background, which makes them very intriguing. We recognize them now as the designs that distinguish antique quilts as unusual and one-of-a-kind. However, there are many who have long assumed that the symbols employed in quilts of the South during slavery were really utilized as hidden signals for slaves fleeing on the Underground Railroad. The majority of specialists now doubt that this truly occurred. Former slave, whose identity is unknown, pictured in the 1930s.
Underground Railroad Quilts Contained Codes That Led To Freedom
Each patch has a set of instructions sewn on it. Others were there to restock supplies, some were there to track bear prints, and some were there to take diversions. A presentation of the Underground Quilts by the Riley Center Quilters was held on Tuesday evening at the Birmingham Public Library Central Branch. Others quilts were enormous, some were little; some were completed, some were not; but all included instructions on how to emancipate oneself from the bonds of servitude. Daphne Simmons, a member of the Riley Center Quilters, explained that quilts were utilized as codes since they were the only method of communication available.
- “There was a code, an unwritten code.
- Simmons went into detail about the significance of each patch on her quilt.
- It was written on the quilt, “This block contains an alternating route of dark and light that denotes direction,” and that specific quilt instructed slaves in which direction they should move: north, south, east, or west.
- “It’s a tool in the same way that a genuine monkey wrench is,” Simmons explained.
- This patch represented the period of time during which they would need to gather the tools they would use on their trip north to freedom.
- The capacity to determine the intents of strangers, according to Simmons, comes from “knowledge and experience.” She spoke into detail about the block with the wagon wheel.
- As a result of the restricted weight and space available, they had to carry things that were vital for survival.
- It was pointed out by Simmons that the spiritual “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” made reference to a wagon wheel.
According to her, it is a “secondary coding pattern.” “The song was generally chanted in conjunction with that block because plantation owners believed that slaves were singing about joining Jesus in Heaven.” They were in fact transmitting a secret message.” She explained that they were supposed to follow the carpenter’s wheel to the northwest.
- In order to avoid being eaten by a bear, “you would follow their paws and their trail.
- According to her, “following those bear paws, they’ll also be guided to food and water.” “Animals will lead you in the right direction.” Basket A basket indicated that the runaways would resupply their provisions at a secure location.
- A major crossroads occurred in the city of Cleveland, Ohio, as Simmons explained.
- I’m traveling to see someone in another city and rely on Google Maps to get there.
- Running away to a shoofly for clothes is something that may happen.
- “There would be sailors on hand to assist you in across the river and entering Canada, where the North Star (the next block away) would shine brightly with your independence,” says the author.
- “There were some northern states that empathized with slaves, and there were some northern states who were opposed to it,” she explained.
- Lesson in Learning Many people, including Miriam Omura, who was in attendance, found this seminar to be a valuable learning experience.
- She gained a better understanding of the symbols that were utilized on the Underground Railroad.
- “It was nice to learn about even more of the ones I was unaware of,” says the author.
- “It makes me want to create one,” Gross expressed interest in doing so.
“I’m still new at quilting; I’ve only been doing it for about nine months. I’ve only made one so far, and I’m now working on my second. In this experience, I learnt something that I don’t believe I would have learned otherwise,” Gross added.
Myths About the Underground Railroad
When it comes to teaching African-American Studies today, one of the great delights is the satisfaction that comes from being able to restore to the historical record “lost” events and the persons whose sacrifices and bravery enabled those events to take place, never to be lost again. Among our ancestors’ long and dreadful history of human bondage is the Underground Railroad, which has garnered more recent attention from teachers, students, museum curators, and the tourism industry than any other institution from the black past.
- Nevertheless, in the effort to convey the narrative of this magnificent institution, fiction and lore have occasionally taken precedence over historical truth.
- The sacrifices and valor of our forefathers and foremothers, as well as their allies, are made all the more noble, heroic, and striking as a result.
- I think this is a common misconception among students.
- As described by Wilbur H.
- Running slaves, frequently in groups of up to several families, were said to have been directed at night on their desperate journey to freedom by the traditional “Drinking Gourd,” which was the slaves’ secret name for the North Star.
The Railroad in Lore
Following is a brief list of some of the most frequent myths regarding the Underground Railroad, which includes the following examples: 1. It was administered by well-intentioned white abolitionists, many of whom were Quakers. 2. The Underground Railroad was active throughout the southern United States. Most runaway slaves who managed to make their way north took refuge in secret quarters hidden in attics or cellars, while many more managed to escape through tunnels. Fourteenth, slaves made so-called “freedom quilts,” which they displayed outside their homes’ windows to signal fugitives to the whereabouts of safe houses and safe ways north to freedom.
When slaves heard the spiritual “Steal Away,” they knew Harriet Tubman was on her way to town, or that an ideal opportunity to run was approaching.
scholars like Larry Gara, who wrote The Liberty Line: The Legend of the Underground Railroad and Blight, among other works, have worked tirelessly to address all of these problems, and I’ll outline the proper answers based on their work, and the work of others, at the conclusion of this piece.
First, a brief overview of the Underground Railroad’s history:
A Meme Is Born
As Blight correctly points out, the railroad has proven to be one of the most “enduring and popular strands in the fabric of America’s national historical memory.” Since the end of the nineteenth century, many Americans, particularly in New England and the Midwest, have either made up legends about the deeds of their ancestors or simply repeated stories that they have heard about their forebears.
It’s worth taking a look at the history of the phrase “Underground Railroad” before diving into those tales, though.
Tice Davids was a Kentucky slave who managed to escape to Ohio in 1831, and it is possible that the phrase “Underground Railroad” was invented as a result of his successful escape.
According to Blight, he is believed to have said that Davids had vanished as though “the nigger must have gone off on an underground railroad.” This is a fantastic narrative — one that would be worthy of Richard Pryor — but it is improbable, given that train lines were non-existent at the time.
- The fleeing slave from Washington, D.C., who was tortured and forced to testify that he had been taken north, where “the railroad extended underground all the way to Boston,” according to one report from 1839, was captured.
- constructed from Mason and Dixon’s to the Canada line, upon which fugitives from slavery might come pouring into this province” is the first time the term appears.
- 14, 1842, in the Liberator, a date that may be supported by others who claim that abolitionist Charles T.
Myth Battles Counter-Myth
It has proven to be one of America’s greatest “enduring and popular threads in the fabric of the nation’s national historical memory,” as Blight puts it so eloquently. Numerous Americans, particularly those in New England and the Midwest, have either made up stories about their ancestors’ adventures or simply repeated stories they have heard about them since the end of the nineteenth century. It’s worth taking a look at the history of the phrase “Underground Railroad” before diving into those tales, though.
Because of his successful escape from Kentucky to Ohio in 1831, it is possible that the phrase “Underground Railroad” was developed as a result of his experience.
According to Blight, he is believed to have said that Davids had vanished, as though “the nigger must have gotten away on the subterranean railroad.” It’s a fantastic tale, and one that would be worthy of Richard Pryor, however the likelihood of this happening is remote given the lack of train infrastructure at the time.
The fleeing slave from Washington, D.C., who was tortured and forced to testify that he had been taken north, where “the railroad extended underground all the way to Boston,” according to one report from 1839.
11, 1839, in an editorial by Hiram Wilson of Toronto, who called for the construction of “a great republican railroad.
14, 1842, in the Liberator, a date that may be supported by others who claim that abolitionist Charles T. Torrey invented the phrase in 1842, according to abolitionist Charles Torrey. As David Blight points out, the term did not become widely used until the mid-1840s, when it was first recorded.
Truth Reveals Unheralded Heroism
The railroad has proven to be one of the most “enduring and popular threads in the fabric of America’s national historical memory,” as Blight puts it so eloquently. The end of the nineteenth century saw the emergence of a large number of Americans, particularly in New England and the Midwest, who either invented legends about their ancestors’ accomplishments or simply repeated stories they had heard. It’s worth taking a look at the history of the phrase “Underground Railroad” before we get into those tales.
Tice Davids was a Kentucky slave who managed to escape to Ohio in 1831, and it is possible that the phrase “Underground Railroad” was invented as a result of his escape.
According to Blight, he is alleged to have said that Davids had vanished, as though “the nigger must have gone off on an underground railroad.” This is a fantastic story — one that would be worthy of Richard Pryor — but it seems improbable given the lack of train infrastructure at the time.
The fleeing slave from Washington, D.C., was tortured and confessed that he had been transferred north, where “the railroad went underground all the way to Boston,” according to one tale from 1839.
11, 1839, in an editorial by Hiram Wilson of Toronto, who called for the construction of “a great republican railroad.
14, 1842, in the Liberator, a date that may be supported by some who claim that abolitionist Charles T.
In any case, according to David Blight, the phrase did not become widely used until the mid-1840s.