Quilts to Freedom
- February 5th, 2013 5:15 am
Quilts to Freedom! When you look at a quilt, what do you see? Cool designs? Something to wrap around you on a cold night? If you had been a slave, you might have seen a map to freedom!
According to the book Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt, by Deborah Hopkinson, quilts were used to send messages that helped slaves reach the Underground Railroad. This story is told through the eyes of a young slave named Clara. In this true story, Clara is a seamstress in the Big House on the Home Plantation. Claras’s Aunt Rachel points to the North Star and tells Clara about Canada, the free land in the north. She also tells her about the Underground Railroad – a network of people, routes and hideouts used to help slaves escape to freedom. Clara learns about the route to Canada and begins working on a special quilt – one with a secret map. Through this book, your students will deepen their understanding of the struggle and risks associated with the Underground Railroad and the escape to freedom in the North.
History Content: The Underground Railroad, Civil War
Here is a suggested activity to reinforce and debrief:
- What are quilts used for?
- How did Sweet Clara feel when she was sent to Home Plantation away from her parents?
- Why did Aunt Rachel teach Clara to sew?
- Create a class Freedom Quilt.
- Use the template below and make a secret quilt pattern that helped American slaves find freedom! Right-click on the image of the document and make sure to print in landscape format in your preferences.
Hopkinson, Deborah. Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt. ISBN 0-590-42485-8
Freedom Quilt Directions –