Hidden in Plain View A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad

ISBN-10: 0385497679

ISBN-13: 9780385497671

Edition: N/A

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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.
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Book details

List price: $15.95
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 1/18/2000
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 240
Size: 5.75" wide x 8.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.638
Language: English

Jacqueline Tobinis the author ofHidden in Plain View: A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground RailroadandThe Tao of Women. She is on the adjunct faculty at the University of Denver, where she teaches courses in writing and research. She has spent the last fifteen years researching and writing on African American Civil War history and uncovering untold stories. Jacqueline lives in Denver with her husband, Stewart, and her dog, Sheba. She has two grown children, Alex and Jasmine, and a son in law, Patrick. Hettie Jones’sseventeen books includeHow I Became Hettie Jones, a memoir of the “Beat Scene”; the poetry collectionDrive,which won the Poetry Society of America’s 1999 Norma Farber Award;Big Star Fallin’ Mama (Five Women in Black Music);andNo Woman, No Cry,a memoir with Bob Marley’s widow, Rita. Jones’s short prose and poetry have appeared in theVillage Voice, theWashington Post,and elsewhere. She lives in New York City, where she teaches writing at the New School and the 92nd Street Y Poetry Center.

JACQUELINE TOBIN is a teacher, collector, and writer of women's stories.   She lives in Colorado.   RAYMOND DOBARD, Ph.D., is an art history professor at Howard University and a nationally known African-American quilter.   He lives in Washington, D.C.

Foreword. The Heritage of an Oral Tradition: The Transmission of Secrets in African American Culture
Foreword. The Importance of the Decorative Arts in African American History
Foreword. Secret African Signs Encoded in African American Quilts
Author's Note. "Write This Down"
Author's Note. Stitching Ideas into Patterns: Methodology in the Writing of Hidden in Plain View
The Fabric of Heritage: Africa and African American Quiltmaking
The Underground Railroad
"There Are Five Square Knots..."
"The Monkey Wrench Turns the Wagon Wheel..."
"Once They Got to the Crossroads..."
"Flying Geese Stay on the Drunkard's Path..."
Steal Away
African American Quilts: Styles and Traditions
Afterword. While on the Journey to Canaan: Survival Secrets
Ozella's Underground Railroad Quilt Code Patterns
Chart Comparing African Symbols, American Quilt Patterns, and Masonic Emblems
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