The Underground Railroad is well documented by historians as the secret routes traveled by African Americans who escaped slavery in the South.
With the aid of "conductors" like Harriet Tubman and shelter at "stations" in the homes of sympathetic Northerners and free African Americans, thousands of slaves made their way to freedom in the North and in Canada. How did they find their way? One theory is that slaves used quilts as signals, but evidence for that is elusive.
Commonwealth Speaker Cassandra Gunkel's hands-on talk and demonstration titled "The Underground Railroad in Quilts?" will address the ongoing debate between historians and the public - did quilts guide escapes? - on Wednesday, April 25, at 7:00 p.m. at the Easton Area Public Library.
Using authentic 19th century quilts and modern reproductions, Dr. Gunkel will explore some of the ways in which women may have stitched their politics, history, and mythology into quilt designs. Her collection of world textiles includes Pennsylvania traditions such as Quaker quilting.
A folklorist who specializes in material culture (the study of history, culture, and traditions as passed on through hand-made objects), Cassandra Gunkel is an exhibited quilt artist and textile designer whose work has been shown in museums and galleries in Philadelphia and Bucks County.
The program is free and open to the public. All ages are welcome. It will be held in the Catherine Drake Meeting Room, which is handicapped accessible from the Church Street.
“The Underground Railroad in Quilts?” is a program of the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, sponsored in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. The Friends of the Library are proud to host this program to further its goal to bring cultural events to the Library.
For more information, call 610-258-2917 ext 308.