How Quilts Lead Slaves to Freedom
February 27 • 7pm • Virtual event via Zoom (Registration is free)
In celebration of Black History Month, join historical quilter, Sharon Aernecke Aitchison as she takes us on a journey on the Underground Railroad and explains how quilts were used as signals along the treacherous escape routes.
The Underground Railroad is part of a larger story of personal and cultural survival of proud African people brought to America against their will prior to 1860. America captured and enslaved about four million black Africans. Slavery came about because Americans needed workers to do the difficult labor on sprawling plantations that stretched across the South and because slave traders saw an opportunity to make a great deal of money buying and selling slaves.
According to legend, a safe house along the Underground Railroad was often indicated by a quilt hanging from a clothesline or windowsill.
These quilts were embedded with a kind of code so that by reading the shapes and motifs sewn into the design, an enslaved person on the run could know the area’s immediate dangers or even where to head next. Nimble fingers working in secret, armed with needle and thread, engaging with a visual language, doing their part for freedom.
This program is available by Zoom only but will be available for playback at a later date for those who register.