The quilt carries great meaning in African American culture. “Hosting the Quilt Showcase during African American History Month lets us share the significance of the quilt to our history,” explains Ralph Hunter, President and Founder of the AAHMSNJ. During slavery, it was against the law to teach an enslaved person to read or write. Other ways were found to communicate. The use of coded symbols on a quilt draped over a fence could warn of danger, tell of a clandestine prayer meeting by the river, or direct passengers on the Underground Railroad to the next “station.”
The quilts on display in Newtonville are examples of modern quilting by the members of the Sewing Club who are continuing the tradition of telling stories with bits of cloth. Doreen Mollette-Sullivan, organized the exhibit of colorful quilts with fellow quilters Frances Thomas, Ronald Porcher, Joan Raynor, Deseria Ramos, and Deborah Williams.