I was snuggled in the big stuffed chair in the living room, reading an new novel Eileen and sipping tea. I’m not sure what made me look up and notice the book at the bottom of the stack of books on the table in front of me. I had almost forgotten I had it, but I put down my book and opened Signs and Symbols, African Images in African American Quilts, by Maude Southwell Wahlman. The book is about how African textiles designs are evident in some quilts made by African American women. How women who were brought to America as slaves used the designs in quilts and passed them down to their children.
As I was leafing through the pages, I came upon a graphic pink, black and yellow quilt called “Snail Trial Quilt” made by Mary Maxtion Boligee in 1990, in Alabama. There’s not a lot of information about the quilt, but there again was a whisper of connection over time and space. I emailed a photo of the quilt to my Aunt Katie. Round it goes, up and down, back an forth, over and under. From Aunt Katie, to me to Mary Maxion Boligee and back again. The Snail Trail.