My local guild, the Heritage Quilters of Huntsville, have handled the pandemic as most guilds have. Some meetings by ZOOM, some in person with limited attendance, based on the requirements of the meeting space.
I recently attended my first in-person meeting since February 2020.
|Selfie with Elida and Denise--so happy to see our people again|
|I take terrible selfies--Kari got in on this one|
|Gifts ready for giveaway--and get your nametag ticket here|
|Comfy quilts, the guild charity project, is receiving lots of donations|
|Fewer chairs, more spread apart, still good to be with our Tribe again|
Quilt historians continue to fight the perpetuation of this complete and utter myth, but still it lives on.
Recently, Barbara Brackman, one of the most esteemed quilt historians ever, debunked this myth with facts and logic. Many of the blocks supposedly in the quilts said to have to been used to "guide" escaping slaves, were not even published until many years after 1865. The oddest one is the Sailboat--first published in 1931 and often seen in children's quilts.
This myth first appeared in a book published in 1998 which told of one African-American family's history, quoting relatives no longer alive. There has been no written history from "contemporary" sources, meaning people who were alive during the time of the Underground Railroad, that substantiates this story.
FACT: The Underground Railroad did exist and there is much historical information about how it operated. Information gathered from those who lived it. No one who studies Abolitionist history, Civil War history or the history of slavery in this country has ever found documented information that quilts were used as "codes".
It makes a good story. Quilters love to think our beloved quilt patterns were used in this way. It makes us feel good. But it's just NOT TRUE.
Quilt Historians can't prove it, though they have really tried. African-American Historians can't prove it, though they have tried. The errors in the myth, blocks that didn't exist until much later, for example, can't seem to persuade quilters this is a myth.
If this myth was true, there would be some factual information available from historians and true researchers of this history, well before 1998. And if only ONE family knew about this "code", how could it have helped hundreds escape?
I consider this myth part of the "internet generation problem"--if you read it online, it must be true. Sadly, that's not true for lots of things you read online.
As a quilter, it saddens me to see this myth presented as truth for others to believe and pass along. Nice story, not true.
One historian was asked how she responded whenever someone wanted to be sure she "knew" the story of quilts used as codes on the Underground Railroad. First, she assured the person this is myth, not truth. And then she said it was also disrespectful to those who did escape the brutality of slavery, as if they needed quilts to tell them to go north, or avoid traveling in the day time, or any of the other odd things the quilts supposedly told them.
Google is your friend. There are many articles about this topic. I encourage you to do your own research. Take such myths with a grain of salt and don't believe everything you hear or read.
Now, let's quilt.