The fascinating story of a friendship, a lost tradition, and an incredible discovery, revealing how enslaved men and women made encoded quilts and then used them to navigate their escape on the Underground Railroad.
"A groundbreaking work."--"Emerge"
In Hidden in Plain View, historian Jacqueline Tobin and scholar Raymond Dobard offer the first proof that certain quilt patterns, including a prominent one called the Charleston Code, were, in fact, essential tools for escape along the Underground Railroad. In 1993, historian Jacqueline Tobin met African American quilter Ozella Williams amid piles of beautiful handmade quilts in the Old Market Building of Charleston, South Carolina. With the admonition to "write this down," Williams began to describe how slaves made coded quilts and used them to navigate their escape on the Underground Railroad. But just as quickly as she started, Williams stopped, informing Tobin that she would learn the rest when she was "ready." During the three years it took for Williams's narrative to unfold--and as the friendship and trust between the two women grew--Tobin enlisted Raymond Dobard, Ph.D., an art history professor and well-known African American quilter, to help unravel the mystery.
Part adventure and part history, Hidden in Plain View traces the origin of the Charleston Code from Africa to the Carolinas, from the low-country island Gullah peoples to free blacks living in the cities of the North, and shows how three people from completely different backgrounds pieced together one amazing American story.
"Hidden in Plain View is mesmerizing." --The New York Times Book Review
"A captivating read." --Dayton Daily News "Unfolds like a scholarly detective story and offers convincing evidence that quilts were used 'to conceal and yet reveal' a means of escape on the Underground Railroad." --Orange County Register
"A groundbreaking work." --Emerge
|Foreword. The Heritage of an Oral Tradition: The Transmission of Secrets in African American Culture||p. 1|
|Foreword. The Importance of the Decorative Arts in African American History||p. 5|
|Foreword. Secret African Signs Encoded in African American Quilts||p. 7|
|Author's Note. "Write This Down"||p. 15|
|Author's Note. Stitching Ideas into Patterns: Methodology in the Writing of Hidden in Plain View||p. 25|
|The Fabric of Heritage: Africa and African American Quiltmaking||p. 35|
|The Underground Railroad||p. 53|
|"There Are Five Square Knots..."||p. 69|
|"The Monkey Wrench Turns the Wagon Wheel..."||p. 83|
|"Once They Got to the Crossroads..."||p. 97|
|"Flying Geese Stay on the Drunkard's Path..."||p. 111|
|Steal Away||p. 129|
|African American Quilts: Styles and Traditions||p. 153|
|Afterword. While on the Journey to Canaan: Survival Secrets||p. 169|
|Ozella's Underground Railroad Quilt Code Patterns||p. 189|
|Chart Comparing African Symbols, American Quilt Patterns, and Masonic Emblems||p. 194|
|Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.|
Number Of Pages: 220
Published: 18th January 2000
Publisher: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 20.6 x 13.7 x 1.7
Weight (kg): 0.25
Edition Number: 1