Saturday, April 6, 2013

Quilts

I find it interesting that quilts were used by African-American, like those seen in Beloved, to communicate. Quilts were sown with symbols and different types of representations to help escaping slaves identify routes to freedom. I think this is ingenious. The quilts were used as a map. Symbols could represent an array of things such as the North Star, which was obviously important as it designated the Northern direction, a direction the slaves would have most definitely wanted to travel. Quilts also depicted images of a wagon wheel, crossroads, and a log cabin, which could be used as a place refuge in their long and difficult journey to freedom. 

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Ben Bonner said...

When we first started talking about this in class my initial reaction was that it seemed a little too fanciful to be true. I was reading about it on wikipedia and the consensus seems to be that this never really happened. The first mention of the quilt code wasn't until 1990 and even then historians haven't been able to find any original quilts or any documentation of it in slave memoirs.

Linz A said...

It's disappointing that quilts weren't actually used to give directions. My mother is a huge quilter (her creations cover our house) and when I was little she would find these quilt books that had these different patterns that are used in quilts (log cabin, bricks and cobblestone, jigsaw), so I found it perfectly reasonable that symbols in quilts could be used to convey meanings. But I suppose quilts might be far to vague to portray an entire plan.