Textual Analysis The theory of a quilt code has many enthusiasts, but no concrete evidence. Quilt historians and Underground Railroad scholars have disputed and criticized the idea since it came to light. Comparing American and British English shows that the ‘quiltin’ and ‘quilting party’ are unique American events that developed in the 19th century. An examination of the relative occurrence of all social slave events and acts of escape shows that quilt gatherings had the most potential for the correlation of activities. Looking at the quilt patterns associated with the myth demonstrates that the phrases ‘railroad crossing’, ‘breakfast dish’, ‘birds in the air’, and ‘half an orange’, are significantly used in the decade prior to Emancipation.
Digital Humanities Exploration of Quilting During Slavery