American Quilts: Brief article about the history of African American women
in quilting. Some clickable links.
American Quilting Traditions: Many quilts are shown, including a picture of
a loom house used by slaves on the Melrose Plantation. Weakness of the site is
its perpetuation of stereotypical views of quilting by African Americans
Quilting Traditions - On another page of this site, a "Star
of Bethlehem" quilt made in the so-called "African-American
tradition" is contrasted with one created in the
We Don't Dig Up: As part of a lesson plan, this site has images of quilts
made by: Phyllis, a slave imported from the Congo in 1818; Francis and Evelyn,
two slaves belonging to Cynthia Evelyn Bush; "Yellow Bill", a male
slave belonging to William Dean of New Orleans; Johanna Davis between 1845 and
1853, she may have been an artisan and not a slave; Hanna, a crazy quilt she
began before the Civil War and finished by her daughter, Emma, in 1895. By
clicking the "Next" button, quilts are shown by Harriet Powers; a
quilt in a personal collection; unknown African-American quilter circa 1910; one
of the first quilts made in 1966 by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom Quilting
Bee, and Georgia Patton. Images are not clickable for close-up views.
Did needlework. Scroll down and read last paragraph on the page.
Hobbes Keckley: Picture of a quilt made for Mary Todd Lincoln by her
dressmaker, Elizabeth Hobbes Keckley, a former slave. (Scroll to near the bottom
of page & look on the right-hand side) One of Mrs. Keckley's quilts now
resides in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian.
Person Slave Narrative: Published under the title - Elizabeth Keckley,
Formerly a Slave, but more recently a modiste, and friend to Mrs. Abraham
Lincoln. OR Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House. [ NOTE: This account does not reference her quilting activities ]
Powers: An ex-slave whose work is now in the permanent collection of the
Smithsonian. Site shows a picture of her and her famous Bible Quilt. Detailed
information is given about the quilt.
Night the Stars Fell: A moving account of an astronomical event that
inspired one of the blocks in Harriet Power's Bible Quilt is shared by Angela
Walton, whose great, great grand grandmother, Amanda Young, witnessed the event
and which became part of her family's oral history. This same text is also
available here: The
Night the Stars Fell
"Shower of Stars": Extensive historical information about this
phenomenon is provided in this article on the Sky & Telescope site.
Quilt : Provides an explanation of each of the blocks in the quilt
Powers" - A Darling Offspring of Her Brain": This is a quilt
created by Marlene O'Bryant Seabrook to pay homage to Harriet Powers. Historical
information about Harriet Powers is also provided.
Article : Describes the probable influences on Harriet Powers’ style
Quilter Harriet Powers: (1837 – 1911)
Tapestry: Story Quilts of Harriet Powers Reveal Remarkable Artistry:
Excellent article by Nancy Bunker-Bowen published September 2001 in the Athens
Bond: A slave. Site shows a picture of her preparing the hair of her
mistress, Rebecca Bond and quilts that the two women made together.
A slave who had been a Barbados princess. Site shows a picture of a chintz
applique quilt made by her, as well as the house in which she lived.
Gary: An overall and detail view of an exquisite quilt made by several young
slave girls, one of whom (Kissie) took the quilt with her when she left the
plantation. Two sound files are available -- one of a slave song, and the other
of Kissie's granddaughter talking about the quilt, the text of which can be read
Ricks: A Liberian who worked for 25-years on a quilt as a gift to Queen
Victoria and had the honor of traveling to England to present it herself in
the late 1800s. Wonderful story told in a book written by Hallie Q.Brown
in 1926, Homespun Heroines and Other Women
of Distinction. (scroll down to page 47). In this same book are other
references to beautiful quilts being made by slaves. Be sure to use CTRL-Find
and search using the work "quilt" (without the quote marks) to find
Block Made by a Slave [Site
#1]: The Dusable Museum of African-American History provides the
picture of a quilt block made in the 1850's by a slave relative of Eugene and
Felicia Flori of California. Scroll down 3/4 of the page. Although the picture
is clickable, files on the site are jumbled and the close up view is of a powder
horn, not the block.
Block Made by a Slave [Site
# 2]: In the collection of the Michigan State University Museum.
Circa 1860 using the "Oak Leaf" pattern.
Made by an Unknown Alabama Slave: Newspaper article, "Black Heritage
Vibrantly Shown in Quilts" includes picture of a star quilt made by an
unknown slave. Picture is clickable for an enlarged view.
Postcards: Oberlin College has a series of postcards, each of which is one
of 30 blocks from the Oberlin Quilt. One of the blocks is about the Underground
Railroad. Scroll down to the 4th block.
Made by an Unknown Mississippi Slave: Quilt is circa 1855 to 1858. Pattern
is "Orange Peel".
by African-American Slaves : Three quilts are shown
Dobard: Review of Hidden in Plain View by Civil War Book News. More info is
available under Raymond Dobard’s name in the Art
& Contemporary section.
Dobard: This is Raymond Dobard's personal web site. It has a picture of him,
information about his education and awards, and brief information about his
involvement in quilting.
the Code in Quilts: Book Review by USA Today
Seven Quilts for
Seven Sisters: "A Stitch in Time" is a show in which each of the
actresses is a quilter in real life. Using their knowledge of African-American
slave history and quilting, the performance depicts the joys of sisterhood, the
trials of slave life, and shows how quilting may have helped them to cope.
Information is available about booking the show.
Here you can read brief biographies of each of the quilters/actors who are part
of this performance team.
and Abolitionist Quilts: No pictures, but a brief article about quilting
during slavery and gives the names of some quilt blocks associated with the
Brothers Assisted in the Quilting" : This is the picture of a wood
engraving showing men threading the needles at a quilting bee that appeared in Harper's
Weekly, April 21, 1883 that is in the Schomburg Image Collection of 19th
Century African Americans.
of History : Two Rare African-American Quilts by "Yellow Bill" for
Auction at Sotheby's