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Always There: The African American Presence in American Quilts


Benberry, Cuesta. Always There: The African American Presence in American Quilts. The Kentucky Quilt Project, Inc.: Louisville, 1992.

A selection of quilts and with chapters that include slave-made products, free blacks in antebellum America, late nineteenth century, and contemporary quilts.

Callahan, Nancy. The Freedom Quilting Bee. University of Alabama Press: Tuscaloosa, 1987.

The story of patchwork quilts created by African Americans and sold through a cooperative in Wilson County, Alabama.

Ferris, William. Afro-American Folk Art and Crafts. University Press of Mississippi: Jackson, 1983.

Features a variety of crafts with a section devoted to quilters.

Fry, Gladys-Marie. Stitched from the Soul: Slave Quilts from the Ante-Bellum South. University of North Carolina Press, 2002.

A thoroughly researched and richly illustrated treatment of slave quilts as cultural icons, with chapters on the enslaved seamstress, production areas, and quilting party.

Grudin, Eva Ungar. Stitching Memories: African American Story Quilts. Williams College Museum of Art: Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1989.

A collection of mostly contemporary quilts that show how African American artists have expressed personal stories, history, religious ideas, and whimsical images.

Leon, Eli. Models in the Mind: African Prototypes in American Patchwork. Winston-Salem State University: Winston-Salem, 1992.

Draws parallels between African fabric motifs and designs found in African American patchwork quilts.

Leon, Eli. Who=d A Thought It: Improvisation in African American Quiltmaking. San Francisco Craft and Folk Art Museum: San Francisco, 1987.

A selection of pieced and stripped contemporary quilts by African Americans.

Picton, John and Mack, John. African Textiles. Harper and Row, Publishers: New York, 1989.

A richly illustrated publication on traditional African textiles, including beaten bark cloths and woven cloths and raphia.


Flournoy, Valerie. The Patchwork Quilt. Dial Books for Young Readers: New York, 1985.

Tanya and her family use scraps of materials from their clothes to finish a quilt that her sick grandmother has started. For third grade and above.

Hopkinson, Deborah. Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt. Alfred A. Knopf: New York, 1993.

Twelve-year-old Clara becomes a seamstress in the "big house" and makes a quilt that serves as a map to freedom for slaves. For third grade and above.


Prepared by the Anacostia Community Museum Education Office
in cooperation with Public Inquiry Services,
Smithsonian Institution


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