Image, Source: During the 1930s, the Works Progress Administration Federal Writers’ Project conducted interviews with African Americans who were former slaves. Out of over 2,300 interviews, which were digitized for the American Memory site Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1938, 156 (6.78%) mention quilting (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division). These brief mentions of specific patterns, methods, and hanging out at a ‘quilting’ late into the night, show that the craft was economically, socially, and politically essential to the community. These 156 primary sources are presented in this online forum in the hopes that oral tradition will translate, and that African American and quilt scholars and enthusiasts will engage in a discussion that clears misconceptions, is accessible to all interested parties, and introduces new information to the community.



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