Commonwealth Speakers Program
The Underground Railroad in Quilts?
The Underground Railroad, the secret paths traveled by African Americans who escaped slavery in the South, is well documented by historians. Far more elusive is evidence that slaves used quilts as signals to guide their way to freedom. This hands-on talk and demonstration engages in the ongoing debate between historians and the public - did quilts guide escapes? Authentic 19th century quilts and modern reproductions are used to explore some of the ways in which women may have stitched their politics, history and mythology into quilt designs. A folklorist who specializes in material culture, Cassandra Gunkel has studied African American quilts and textiles to document the lives of women who captured our histories and stories in their creative work.
Commonwealth Speakers is a program of the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Registration can be done either online or by calling the Circulation Desk at (717) 533-6555.