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Since much of this information was transmitted orally and not written down, we may speculate on the meaning of Underground Railroad symbols and how they were interpreted by runaway slaves. Other patterns that have been included in the quilt code are the wagon wheel, drunkard’s path, and tumbling blocks. The slaves, the Johnson family who protected them, that presence was the colors in the sky of the quilt. freedom using the Underground Railroad quilt code. Pattern Meaning African Quilts Barn Quilt Patterns Block Patterns Pattern Ideas Underground Railroad Teaching History Train Historia. The log cabin quilt block pattern is one of the most well-known and popular quilt block patterns. First of all, what the heck are quilt codes? The log cabin quilt square represents the message that the person in that spot is safe to speak to. Tools meant: something with which to build shelters, compasses for determining direction, or tools to serve as weapons for defending themselves. Quilt blocks names have been derived from every aspect of society. We tell unforgettable stories about people, ideas, and a wide array of arts and traditions that help us explore where we have come from and where we are going. I want to convey a message of hope, freedom, love for the slaves.”. “I have taken the gifts God has given me and I’m returning them back to Him through the quilt codes.”, Scholar Marilyn Motz has a definition for belief that seems to fit: “a process of knowing that is not subject to verification or measurement within the framework of a modern western scientific paradigm.”, As she points out, “the term belief actually calls into question its own validity.” And anyways, “we usually describe our own beliefs as knowledge.”. Is it any wonder that this nine patch quilt block called Underground Railroad would be a directional type of block featuring a definite path? This particular quilt square sends the message for the slaves to pack their wagon, or to prepare to leave on a wagon to begin their trip on the Underground Railroad to freedom. Besides offering wonderful results as you place your blocks in your quilt, directional blocks are good choices to use as "connector blocks", used side by side with a different block which results in a secondary pattern emerging. As quilts hung out to … Underground Railroad Quilt Patterns And Meanings. “Flying geese are blue; the sky is blue, red and black,” she responded. “You really get a sense of enslaved people there,” she says. ... QUILT PATTERNS & THEIR MEANINGS Monkey Wrench This meant the slaves were to gather all the tools they might need on the journey to freedom. “Now, I would not jump to any conclusions that every African American quilter held their needle pointing to the north, and that is the problem with the Hidden in Plain View book. These Americans migrated to the Midwest from the rural South saying Godspeed! She recently gave a lecture about them to a full room in Johnson House. “If people’s lives are at stake, then it stands to reason that there would be no trace of the quilts,” Atlanta-based quilt scholar Mary Twining-Baird argues. The punishments were stiff for helping a slave escape. I think my favorite would be the tumbling blocks. Often made from scraps of old dresses, burlap sacks, and dish cloths, it gives physical, even functional, form to a family or individual’s past and present. Some do, and maybe it did, but others question the authenticity of such events. North Star: A signal with two messages--one to prepare to escape and the other to follow the North Star to freedom in Canada. The punishment for the black person was even worse...whipping, hanging, or burning. PUBLISHED February 5, 2004 Two historians say African American slaves may have used a quilt code to navigate the Underground Railroad. Underground railroad quilt meanings. Impressive example of a flying geese quilt. The North Star quilt block tells them to follow the North Star to safety. “We had a whole battery of people who were doing those interviews in Michigan, both black and white, and no one heard that story.”. “Almost every February, stories appear in papers across the country,” MacDowell explains, referencing African American History Month. the underground railroad quilts squares where made with codes to help the slaves to freedom Such is the case with Kaluli people of Papua New Guinea, who believe the spirits of their dead take up in particular animals, namely pigs and birds. I was disappointed by her answer because I didn’t understand. She felt a kind of kinship. These quilts were said to impart important instructions and warnings to people traveling the Underground Railway. Our conversation stretched to weeks as I sought more detailed information about how they were used. At its center, a quilt is an assemblage of historical and creative cues in the form of fabrics, shapes, symbols, textures and colors. This antique quilt is a Rose Wreath hand appliqued quilt by Jeffie Beaver (Mrs. A. W. Smith 1894-1985). Today, we do this mainly by writing and talking. She had retired and was selling quilts. They jumped to conclusions without documentation.”. This interesting quilt is made with the tumbling blocks pattern. SweetiePie from Southern California, USA on November 23, 2018: Susan Hazelton (author) from Sunny Florida on July 14, 2018: I love to quilt myself, it's true that it does give beautiful historic stories. There she met weavers who were braiding in a code she herself is using. Are these quilts harming anyone? Underground Railroad Quilt Block Meanings People have long believed that the symbols used in quilts of the South during slavery were actually used as secret messages for slaves escaping on the Underground Railroad. This power point presentation by Debra Bays tells the story of the role of quilt blocks in the journey north along the Underground Railroad. Craft and empowerment -The Underground Railroad Quilts. Underground Railroad Free Quilt Block Pattern. According to legend, a safe house along the Underground Railroad was often indicated by a quilt hanging from a clothesline or windowsill. In many cases it indicated that this was a safe house. Underground Railroad Quilt Block Meanings. MacDowell’s fellow quilt-scholars posited the subject of her whiteness. They need to express their thoughts, dreams, and needs. When Marie Webster wrote the first known book on quilting in 1915 she referred to the Jacob's Ladder pattern in this way, "The bold and rather heavy design known as 'Jacobs Ladder' is a good example of a pieced quilt. “Of course there is no documentation! The wide woolen stitching lines were roads.”. In recent years, one of the most powerful quilt myths to emerge has centered on the role quilts may have played in the Underground Railroad. Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on July 14, 2018: What an interesting article. “Follow the Drinking Gourd,” 2014, orange silk, cotton batik, 54 x 60”, Sharon Tindall, “Follow the Drinking Gourd (Green),” 2019, green batik, printed cotton, 26.5 x 26.5”. Ms. Oral 19th-century slave narratives and testimonies of former slaves in the 1930s didn't contain any references to the quilt-code. How the Quilt Code of the Underground Railroad enabled the slaves to run away from slavery safely. Thanks for assembling this interesting post. I was amazed to find out the different codes used to help the slaves escape. Simply put, she has faith. It was traditional for slaves to leave handmade flower wreaths on the graves. 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