What Was The Underground Railroad Quilt Code? (Question)

Did quilts hold codes to the Underground Railroad?

  • Did Quilts Hold Codes to the Underground Railroad? Two historians claim quilts may have contained encoded messages for enslaved people looking to escape through the Underground Railroad. Though others disagree, it is an intriguing idea.

What were the Underground Railroad secret code words?

The code words often used on the Underground Railroad were: “tracks” (routes fixed by abolitionist sympathizers); “stations” or “depots” (hiding places); “conductors” (guides on the Underground Railroad); “agents” (sympathizers who helped the slaves connect to the Railroad); “station masters” (those who hid slaves in

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 the freedom quilt about?

It is believed that quilts were designed and used to communicate information to African slaves about how to escape to freedom using the Underground Railroad.

How many quilt codes are there?

“They could feel or sense light through their struggle of trying to get to freedom.” Prior to 1999, the codes were unheard of even to the African American quilting community. That’s according to Marsha MacDowell, a quilt scholar and director of the Quilt Index, a massive online catalog of more than 90,000 quilts.

What does the code word liberty lines mean?

Other code words for slaves included “freight,” “passengers,” “parcels,” and “bundles.” Liberty Lines – The routes followed by slaves to freedom were called “liberty lines” or “freedom trails.” Routes were kept secret and seldom discussed by slaves even after their escape.

Why are the trees painted white in Underground Railroad?

Trees painted white protects them from sun damage Paint can also be used to protect exposed tree trunks in cases where the bark has been damaged, this method protects the fragile trunk against pests and further damage until the bark has recovered.

What are the quilt codes?

Two historians say African American slaves may have used a quilt code to navigate the Underground Railroad. Quilts with patterns named “wagon wheel,” “tumbling blocks,” and ” bear’s paw ” appear to have contained secret messages that helped direct slaves to freedom, the pair claim.

What were some signals on the Underground Railroad?

Certain Songs were sung as symbols of Underground Railway members. “All Clear” was conveyed in safe houses using a lighted lantern in a certain place as this symbol. Knocks on doors used a coded series of taps as symbols of identity. Certain items, such as a quilt, were hung on a clothesline.

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.

What’s Harriet Tubman’s real name?

The person we know as “Harriet Tubman” endured decades in bondage before becoming Harriet Tubman. Tubman was born under the name Araminta Ross sometime around 1820 (the exact date is unknown); her mother nicknamed her Minty.

What does the Monkey Wrench quilt mean?

Monkey Wrench: A signal to gather all the tools required for the fleeing slave’s journey, meaning the physical tools, as well as the mental and spiritual ones. A slave spotted travelling south, for instance, would not be suspected of escaping.

What does the Bear Paw quilt symbolize?

The Bear’s Paw quilt was hung to encourage Underground Railroad passengers to follow bear excrement on the path. That way they would be able to find water and food.

What does the flying geese quilt pattern mean?

Flying Geese: A signal to follow the direction of the flying geese as they migrated north in the spring. Most slaves escaped during the spring; along the way, the flying geese could be used as a guide to find water, food and places to rest.

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 reality.

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 genuine or not, serves as a platform for African Americans to explore the pain 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 already making coded quilts for their daughters and grandchildren, 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.

See also:  How The Underground Railroad Get Its Name? (Solution)

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.

See also

  • Cecelia Pedescleaux is a quilt scholar and quilter who specializes on the Underground Railroad.


  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. Reynolds, Glenn (2007). “quilts.” Arcadia Publishing Incorporated. p. 128. ISBN 978-1-62585-701-9
  5. 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
  6. Abcd
  7. 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)
  8. 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
  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
  10. AbFergus M. Bordewich, p. 7, ISBN 978-1-60705-386-6
  11. (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
  12. Retrieved 30 April 2012
  13. 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
  14. Retrieved


  • Celeste-Marie Bernier and Hannah Durkin are two of the most talented young women in the world of fashion (2016). Across the African Diaspora, artists have created works that depict slavery and its effects. Page 76–77 of Oxford University Press’s book, “The Oxford Companion to the English Language.” Jacqueline L. Tobin and Raymond G. Dobard (ISBN 978-1-78138-267-7)
  • (1999). Quilts and the Underground Railroad have a secret history that is hidden in plain sight. Doubleday Publishing Company, New York, N.Y., ISBN 0-385-49137-9
  • ABC-CLIO. Stacie Stukin is a woman who lives in the United States of America (2007-04-03). Making Sense of Quilts and the Underground Railroad” is a book about debunking myths and discovering the truth about the Underground Railroad. TIME. On April 29, 2007, an archived version of this article appeared. On January 23, 2013, abcdef was retrieved. Noam Cohen is a writer and musician from New York City who lives in the Bronx (January 23, 2007). A collision of Slave Folklore and Fact is witnessed in the Douglass Tribute.” New York Times (New York, New York, United States of America) ISSN0362-4331. Donna Lagoy and Laura Seldman were able to get a hold of the information on April 30, 2012. (September 5, 2016). Chester, New York, was a stop on the Underground Railroad during the Civil War. 128 (ISBN 978-1-62585-701-9)
  • Reynolds, Glenn (2007), “quilts.” Arcadia Publishing Incorporated. p. 128 (ISBN 978-1-62585-701-9)
  • Reynolds, Glenn (2006), “quilts.” Arcadia Publishing Incorporated. Citation: Rodriguez, Junius P. (ed.). The Slave Resistance and Rebellion Encyclopedia is a resource for those interested in the history of slave resistance and revolt. Page numbers 407–409 are provided by the Greenwood Publishing Group. 978-0-313-33273-9
  • Abcd
  • ISBN978-0-313-33273-9
  • Bartholomew, Andrew (February 1, 2007). “Prof. Douglass dispels Douglass myth.” The Yale Daily News is a daily newspaper published at Yale University. Donna Lagoy and Laura Seldman retrieved on March 19, 2017
  • (September 5, 2016). Chester, New York, was a stop on the Underground Railroad during the Civil War. Incorporated, ISBN 978-1-62585-701-9
  • Arcadia Publishing, Inc., p. 127.ISBN 1-62585-701-9
  • Barbara Brackman is a writer and editor who lives in the United States of America (November 5, 2010). First-person accounts of slavery are included in eight projects and twenty blocks in the book, Facts, Fabrications, and Unraveling the History of QuiltsSlavery: Eight projects and twenty blocks in the book, Unraveling the History of QuiltsSlavery: Eight projects and twenty blocks in the book, Slavery: Eight projects and twenty blocks in the book p. 7
  • ISBN 978-1-60705-386-6
  • AbFergus M. Bordewich, C T Publishing Inc. (February 2, 2007). “The tangled web of history.” New York Times (New York, New York, United States of America) ISSN0362-4331. On the 30th of April, 2012, it was discovered that Ms. Diane Cole is a professional writer and editor who lives in the United Kingdom (2012). US News and World Report published an article titled “Were Quilts Used as Underground Railroad Maps?”. usnews.com. 30th of April, 2012
  • Retrieved from

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. Former slave, whose identity is unknown, was photographed in the 1930s. courtesy of the Library of Congress

The Underground Railroad

An underground railroad network of abolitionists – both black and white – who assisted enslaved people in their attempts to escape through a network of safe homes and shelters was known as the Underground Railroad (UR). The Underground Railroad was backed by two major religious groups, the Quakers and the African Methodist Episcopal Church, from its inception in the late 1700s and continuing until the passage of the first of the Fugitive Slave Acts in 1793, when it was established. The Underground Railroad, as depicted in an 1893 picture, may have looked somewhat like this.

What if the most unobtrusive method to accomplish this goal was to hang a quilt out on the line?

The Quilt Code

Many people believe that specific quilts were employed as symbols during the Underground Railroad era, as evidenced by the publication of Hidden in Plain View: A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad in 2000 by authorsJacqueline L. Tobin and Raymond G. Dobard. In the film Hidden in Plain View, which is based on interviews with elderly African American quilter Ozella Williams, it appears that the narrative of how symbols were used to lead escape slaves is told. The monkey wrench design is one of the patterns that is thought to have had significance for enslaved people traveling on the Underground Railroad.

  • The wagon wheel, drunkard’s path, and tumbling blocks are some of the other designs that have been incorporated in the quilt code as well.
  • Via/Flickr One theory is that the seamstress of a plantation would instruct the other slaves on the meaning of the quilt symbols and then put up the quilt symbols that were pertinent to impending travels, such as when a conductor was about to arrive in the area.
  • It was believed that the presence of a black square in the middle of the log cabin quilt was an indicator of the presence of a safe home.
  • courtesy of Wikimedia Commons However, there is very little strong evidence that these patchwork symbols were employed in this manner during the time.
  • Some of the folklore includes some unexplainable anomalies, such as the bear’s paw design, which is difficult to explain.
  • In any case, using this path would have taken significantly longer and been significantly less direct, increasing the likelihood of getting apprehended.
  • The pattern of the bear’s paws.

It doesn’t matter what you believe: quilts from the nineteenth century are some of the best ever produced, and the accomplishments of people who traveled via the Underground Railroad are some of the most brave this country has ever witnessed.

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.

  1. “There was a code, an unwritten code.
  2. Simmons went into detail about the significance of each patch on her quilt.
  3. 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.
  4. “It’s a tool in the same way that a genuine monkey wrench is,” Simmons explained.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. As a result of the restricted weight and space available, they had to carry things that were vital for survival.
  8. It was pointed out by Simmons that the spiritual “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” made reference to a wagon wheel.
See also:  How Long Did It Take For Slaves To Go On The Underground Railroad? (Best solution)

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.

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 hampered by laws that made it illegal to aid fugitive slaves in their pursuit of freedom.

They put their livelihoods and, in some cases, their lives at risk.

Slave and free at the same time.

There are two classes of people: the rich and the poor.

They provided slaves with the TOOLS they required in order to survive.

They provided SAFE HOUSES as well as SUPPORT throughout the journey.

Today, we are confronted with a different, but no less devastating, 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 services.

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.

  1. Let’s take a look back at the lessons learned in the past.
  2. Work in a collaborative environment.
  3. Follow in the footsteps of the survivors.
  4. Provide life skills and education to those who need it.
  5. Be fearless and forward-thinking.

and how to get in touch with them. This is a resource that is alive and breathing. We realize that some of you may have been overlooked; therefore, please submit your organizationshere. I’m honored to serve alongside you. Ginger Shaw is a woman who works in the fashion industry.

Speaker describes quilt code used by slaves on undergound railroad

  • While fighting for freedom, it was an ingenious method that was devised during a period of life and death conflict. It’s referred to as the quilt code. To prepare for and then travel via the Underground Railroad, which was formed around 30 years before the Civil War to assist enslaved persons in reaching regions where they could live as free men and women, slaves utilized the code to communicate with one another. Earlier this month, Brittney Westbrook, of the Evansville African-American Museum, lectured about the quilt code and the Underground Railroad at the Henderson County Public Library. According to her, “from the very beginning of American slavery, people struggled for their liberation through the Underground Railroad.” “The patchwork code was a subversive method that was used to communicate with individuals without actually saying anything to them,” says the author. Several historians think that African-American seamstresses were the ones who developed the quilt code since they were the ones who really did the sewing, according to Westbrook. Distinct quilting patterns represented different codes that escaped slaves were required to memorize in order to escape capture. Using the monkey wrench pattern as an example, Westbrook explained that it instructed slaves to “prepare the things they’d need along the road, including their mental and spiritual instruments.” It was a “hidden sign” scrawled on the ground, she explained, indicating that someone was safe to speak with and so the log cabin quilt pattern. In addition, the emblem warned people to seek refuge. According to Westbrook, the bowtie design indicated that slaves should disguise themselves or put on a change of clothes, while the flying geese pattern indicated a direction to follow, such as the direction in which the geese would fly. A sampler quilt with all of the distinct code patterns would be sewn by a (slave) plantation seamstress, according to Westbrook. “Slaves would stare at the sampler to learn the codes, which they would then repeat. The seamstress would next sew a big quilt for each of the code patterns she had created. The quilts were hung one at a time by the seamstress in order to emphasize the code patterns and their related meanings on the quilts. As a result, when slaves attempted to flee, they relied on their memories of the quilts to guide them safely across the wilderness.” “Historians believe that the monkey wrench design would have been the first full-size quilt that a seamstress would have hung up,” she explained. “This would signal to the slaves that they should gather their tools and prepare for the voyage ahead of them. Second, a wagon wheel quilt pattern would be used to instruct slaves to load the wagon or to make preparations to board the wagon in order to begin their emancipation.” and so forth. According to Westbrook, there is significant controversy about the legitimacy of the patchwork code in the United States. “Because there is no written proof to support the patchwork code,” she explained, “many people doubt its authenticity.” “We have an oral tradition foundation (for the quilt code), but we do not have a documented heritage since the underground railroad was intended to be subversive, and as a result, just a few things about it were recorded in writing.” She said that, like the patchwork code, most of what historians have put together about the Underground Railroad, its network of paths, and individuals who assisted fugitive slaves did not originate from written records or documentation. In addition to being a significant location for the Underground Railroad, Evansville was also a key location for the Underground Railroad, according to Westbrook, since enslaved individuals in Henderson could access to freedom by trekking the roughly 10 miles into Indiana. “In Henderson, there used to be a slave market,” she explained. According to Westbrook, many members of the African-American community chose Evansville as a home base to be close to family relatives who were still slaves in Henderson and Owensboro. In Evansville, there were four stations on the subterranean train system. Despite the fact that the slave market was a bustling site in Henderson, there were some Henderson locals who were opposed to it and slavery, according to her. “Farmers and church members were among the abolitionists who assisted slaves in their attempts to go north or deeper into the southern states. African-Americans were being transported via the Underground Railroad in Henderson and Evansville by ordinary people who were transporting them to freedom. Folks in Henderson and Evansville who were members of the Underground Railroad were simply ordinary people “” she explained. Some organizations supplied temporary lodging, while others donated food, clothing, and other goods to the homeless. Traveling the Underground Railroad, according to Westbrook, was extremely risky. Getting captured as a slave was extremely perilous, and it was also extremely harmful for anyone who assisted slaves in escaping. In the event that a runaway slave was apprehended, she stated that they would be “tortured.” It was possible that they would chop your ear entirely off
  • They could take a chunk out of your ear
  • Or they could cut off your foot, so there were genuine hazards in fleeing. She said that there was also a serious danger for anyone who assisted fugitive slaves. “Others in Gibson County, Indiana, have had their farms destroyed because they assisted people in escaping through the underground railroad, according to what we’ve learned. Two white men were hanged for their involvement in the Underground Railroad, which we are aware of as well.” The majority of Westbrook’s talk at the library, which included library staffer Nancy Voyles, contained knowledge that was fresh to those in attendance. “Ms. Westbrook is an excellent public speaker. A great deal about that period of history is familiar to her “Voyles made the statement. “Finding out the significance of the many quilt motifs was a great experience for me. Because even today, as you drive down the road, you’ll see the symbols painted on the sides of barns and other structures.” “There were a lot of things I didn’t know,” Voyles admitted of his research into the Underground Railroad and the Quilt Code. “My knowledge of the Underground Railroad was limited, but hearing her speak about the people who worked on it, the conductors who worked on it, and all the many roles that people had in it, I thought was quite intriguing. It helped me to expand my vocabulary.” “I believe the most surprising thing for folks is discovering information that they were previously unaware of,” Westbrook told The Gleaner in a subsequent interview. “Due to prejudice and segregation, much of African-American history has been suppressed, and some of it has been accidentally forgotten or forgotten entirely. However, African-American history is part of the larger American story.” “Education about African-American history in general, as well as assisting people in understanding the culture, are two of my favorite things to do. Once again, African-American history is part of the larger American story.” Those interested in learning more about the Underground Railroad are encouraged to visit the Evansville African American Museum, according to Westbrook. “It’s free and open to the public, and we encourage everyone to visit the museum.”
See also:  What Was The Underground Railroad Book? (Professionals recommend)

Were Quilts Used as Underground Railroad Maps?

Fact, fiction, legend, or a mix of all three: that is the question. Possibly, fugitive slaves looked to handcrafted quilts deliberately placed by members of the Underground Railroad for hints about their whereabouts. This continuing issue made headlines earlier this year when it was announced that a memorial to Frederick Douglass in New York City’s Central Park will feature two inscriptions relating to the code. Historians were outraged, and they were outspoken. According to Giles Wright, head of the Afro-American History Program at the New Jersey Historical Commission, there is no evidence for such a code to be in existence.

  1. The tale of the quilt key, on the other hand, remains firmly above ground.
  2. Tobin and Raymond G.
  3. The account, according to historians, came from a single source: Ozella McDaniel Williams, a retired educator and quilt maker from Charleston, South Carolina.
  4. She said that instructions for assisting fleeing slaves on their path to freedom were hidden inside 12 quilt patterns.
  5. In spite of the fact that Williams passed away just a few months before the book was released, Williams’s 73-year-old niece Serena Wilson of Columbus, Ohio, claims that she too learnt about the secret maps from her mother.
  6. Misinterpret.
  7. Bordewich, author of Bound for Canaan: The Underground Railroad and the Battle for the Soul of America, there is no other reference for the code other than that of the Bordewich family.
  8. “There is no reference anywhere by anyone, black or white, of any quilt being used at any time.” In addition, no coded quilts from the time period have survived.
  9. However, according to Brackman, some of the patterns that are alleged to be part of the Underground Railroad code did not exist until after the Civil War, while others did not exist until after the Civil War.
  10. Many of the elements that have been attributed to the story—such as the use of quilts to mark safe homes along the way—”simply aren’t in the book,” she claims.

As Tobin points out, “we’re not talking about hundreds or thousands of people who are utilizing this code.” “The plot has developed in unexpected ways that we did not anticipate.”

The Underground Railroad Quilt Code – Truth or Myth?

“The Underground Railroad Quilt Code – Truth or Myth?” will be the topic of a discussion this Saturday at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, which will address the interesting issue of “The Underground Railroad Quilt Code – Truth or Myth?” “The Underground Railroad (UGRR) has caught the imagination of the country, and stories of its usage have been written and reproduced in innumerable novels and songs throughout the years,” according to the event’s website.

Some of the stories related with the Underground Railroad have gotten significant attention in recent years, such as the narrative of the Underground Railroad Railroad ‘quilt code,’ which allowed fleeing slaves to “read” quilts displayed outside houses in order to navigate their way northward to freedom.

  1. Raymond Dobard in 1999, provides a detailed description of this code of conduct.
  2. Since the release of the book, the ‘quilt code’ has established legend and has been the subject of much debate, with many researchers doubting its existence and pointing to a lack of evidence to back up Williams’ account.
  3. If you’re interested in the subject and can make it to Cumberland Gap on Saturday, Dr.
  4. During his presentation, Dr.
  5. In the town of Middlesboro, Kentucky, the visitor center is located on U.S.
  6. Middlboro, Tennessee, is approximately 85 miles north of Knoxville, Tennessee, and 130 miles south of Lexington, Kentucky.
  7. There are some Traveller readers who may not be aware that the National Park Service (NPS) is actively participating in a national endeavor to explain the tale of the Underground Railroad.
  8. A map and a list of places related with the Underground Railroad may be found on the National Park Service’s ” Aboard the Underground Railroad ” website.

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The following is an excerpt from the book “Hidden in Plain View” by Raymond Dobard:” Some consider this quilt, which has a “Evening Star” design on it, to be a secret code that slaves used to navigate their way to freedom through the Underground Railroad. While researching a family legend that messages encoded in quilts assisted slaves escaping to freedom on the Underground Railroad for their book Hidden in Plain View: A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad (Random House), Jacqueline Tobin and Raymond Dobard had no idea that their hypothesis would spark controversy from scholars who declared it false.

For Tobin, a writer and educator, “Hidden in Plain Viewis the tale of one woman’s family,” says the book’s title character, Ozella McDaniel Williams, who she met in a Charleston, South Carolina market in 1994 and who told her about the codes that she had never heard of before.

With no historical evidence to support Williams’ claim, Tobin enlisted her friend Raymond Dobard, a quilter and art history professor affiliated with Howard University, to assist her with the research and writing of the book, which is now in its sixth printing and has sold more than 200,000 copies to date.

Although I am unsure as to whether or not it is fully valid, the quantity of research we conducted leads me to believe it is.

As he points out, “the Underground Railroad is filled with inaccuracies and disinformation, and this is just one more case where someone stumbles across folklore and believes it to be genuine.” Historians like Wright are working hard to correct the record whenever the opportunity presents itself.

In their belief, this is a myth analogous to George Washington cutting down the cherry tree, and they spend pages and pages on websites denying it.

Even more recently, quilt historian Barbara Brackman wrote her own book, Facts and Fabrications: Unraveling the History of Quilts and Slavery (C T Publishing), in which she attempted to provide what she believes to be an accurate appraisal of slavery, quilts, and the Underground Railroad.

Approximately 6,500 students from local schools have visited the exhibit, which demonstrates the thesis of the patchwork code.

In addition, the narrative has appeared in lesson plans and textbooks (TIME For Kidseven published an article aboutHidden in Plain Viewin a middle school art book published by McGraw Hill in 2005).

Although some people, such as Anna Lopez, an education coordinator at the Plymouth Historical Museum, believe that the concept of quilt codes is a fabrication, others, like as Lopez, believe that it is a true story.

Men are the ones who do it.

Then I inquire as to who produced the quilts.

Who knows what happened since no one wrote down their history.” Activist and photographer Roland Freeman, who has been photographing and documenting African American quilters for almost 30 years, offers a different view on why the subject has gained so widespread attention.

We’re sending messages and symbols right under the noses of white people, and they haven’t even realized it.

As a result, we are inclined to accept such stories because they are what we want to hear.” Laurel Horton, a folklorist and quilt historian who has taught and published papers on the quilt code, has stated that she has given up on attempting to dispel the idea about the code.

“This entire situation has made me realize that it is not a question of one group knowing the truth and another not.

In this case, it comes down to two separate sets of beliefs. It’s made me understand that believing doesn’t have much to do with accurate portrayal of the world around us. People have a gut feeling that something is real, and no one can persuade them differently in their heads.”

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