Subversive Quilts

After the protest last Sunday, the Black Lives Matter sign I made went back up on the clothesline.

Last week I wrote how I had heard that black people would hang quilts on clotheslines as signs for the Underground Railroad.  I read conflicting accounts of this idea so I wasn’t sure if it was true.

But Kim sent me this video today.  I had no idea the patterns conveyed such specific information.

I recently read about a book about Virginia Hall, the American Spy who helped organize the French Resistance during WWII.  One of the signals that she wrote about was how women would hang certain clothes on the line to convey different messages to other resistance members.

I love how both these seemingly innocent acts of traditional “women work” were used so subversively.

3 thoughts on “Subversive Quilts

  1. I had no idea quilts were used in this way. Simple concept and very clever. Imagine a quilt helping to save a life! Thanks for sharing.

  2. I don’t have the words to express how impressed I am with the resourcefulness of the quilt makers in this video. And I am sad that this is the first time I have been exposed to this life saving practice. And am grateful to now have the awareness of the quilt making communication during the Underground Railroad. I am eager to share this history with others. Thank you Maria.

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