Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Underground Railroad featured in Greer Heritage Museum Quilt Show

Greenvilleonline.com has an article on the upcoming Greer Heritage Museum Quilt Show.

If you can't reach it through the link above - I have copied it below. Yet another history lesson on quilts.

The 12 squares on a vibrant sampler quilt that will be on display at the Greer Heritage Museum are more than decorative: The patterns are codes that were once used as roadmaps to help slaves escape and travel north along the Underground Railroad to Canada and freedom.

The quilt, created by Bobbye Mobley's beginner quilting class at Senior Action's Sears Shelter in Greenville, will be displayed with 11 others from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 7 at the Greer Heritage Museum's second annual quilt show in observance of Black History Month.

Margaret Hill, a member of the museum's board of directors, said quilts have always played an integral part in black history.

Mobley, who has taught quilting at the Sears Shelter for seven years, said the Underground Railroad quilt code has long fascinated her.

Quilts displaying the codes often were made by white abolitionists, who hung them on a line or fence to be aired out in the spring and summer months, she said. But hidden in plain view were certain patterns and symbols that displayed messages to fugitive slaves.

For instance, Mobley said, when slaves saw a quilt with the Drunkard's Path pattern, they would know to create a zig-zag trail, to avoid pursuers in the area.

"This is a story where white abolitionists helped black slaves to freedom. So that lets me know blacks and whites have worked together for many, many years, even though we had segregation after that," Mobley said.

Other quilts to be featured at the Greer museum show will include log cabin, Grandma's fan and Drunkard's Path designs. The quilts were made by the St. Matthew United Methodist Church arts and crafts group as well by local individuals.

Who: Greer Heritage Museum

What: quilt display

When: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Feb. 7

Where: 215 Trade St., Greer

Admission: free

Contact: Call 877-3377.


Fiber Deviant said...

wow! what an awesome concept... of course i had learned about the underground railroad in school, but, had never heard of the quilts and codes.

what creativity!

quiltsbylee said...

That is so cool. I love to read about the history of quilting. My mamal always said there was more to quilting than meets the eye.