mindlovemisery’s menagerie, tale weaver #23 underground railway: a stitch to freedom

February is black history month. Time to think of those who suffered in bondage with the hope that some day their children might be free.

Phylor's Blog

The Underground Railroad

Theodor Kaufmann

a stitch to freedom

We spent the winter cutting pieces from dresses, linens, bedding, any thing fabric. We held quilting bees, the women of the community working together regardless of status, politics or religion.

We quilted maps, safe houses, warnings, gathering spots, the next depot on the underground railway. Each stitch held a meaning pointing towards the purpose of the quilt.

We memorized the codes and messages contained in the carefully arranged and quilted squares. Nothing was written down; no record of our work and it’s meaning.* We were simply a community holding quilting bees to pass the slow, dreary days of winter.

Hung on the clothes line in the sweet spring air, the quilts were signposts for safe journeys to the North. Maps for freedom.


*Many believe that the idea of quilts as symbols to escaped slaves is a 20th…

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