Slaves in Need

Underground Railroad Quilts

I made a freedom quilt. Slaves used these patterns to escape their owners. You would see these designs sewn in fabric, carved in dirt and trees and hung up on windows along the Underground Railroad path. One of the patterns was called Drunkard’s Path. This meant to move in a zig-zag line to avoid the slave’s owner. The Crossroads pattern told the slaves that at the mountains they were supposed to travel the crossroads. The main crossroad was Cleveland, Ohio. Some people would say that the Bear’s Claw pattern was used to follow bear tracks and find food. Bow tie design meant that you were about to get new clothes. When you were a slave your clothes would be torn and old looking. You would need new clothes to disguise you from the slave catchers. The Carpenter’s Wheel pattern meant “steal away” this was also a song many slaves knew and sang this song. The last pattern North Star meant to follow the North Star to freedom. I learned a lot and I hope you did too but these are only a few. Thanks for reading!

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