The Freedom Quilting Bee
Folk Art and the Civil Rights Movement
280 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.90 in, 4-color insert
- Published: April 2005
- Published: October 2014
The original book on the renowned Freedom quilters of Gee's Bend
In December of 1965, the year of the Selma-to-Montgomery march, a white Episcopal priest driving through a desperately poor, primarily black section of Wilcox County found himself at a great bend of the Alabama River. He noticed a cabin clothesline from which were hanging three magnificent quilts unlike any he had ever seen. They were of strong, bold colors in original, op-art patterns—the same art style then fashionable in New York City and other cultural centers. An idea was born and within weeks took on life, in the form of the Freedom Quilting Bee, a handcraft cooperative of black women artisans who would become acclaimed throughout the nation.
"The author expertly weaves the history, the hardships of poor blacks in a downtrodden racist society and the economics of the long struggle to become self-sufficient. Callahan proves she can handle a complex, multi-charactered, significant piece of Southern history."
“This book is one that should be read by anyone interested in African American culture, women’s culture, handicrafts, or history. . . . [The Freedom Quilting Bee] is so well-written and so interesting, it will spark the reader's interest from the outset.”
"The Freedom Quilting Bee is a modern success storythis book is about people cooperating, about women who work hard to make their dreams come true. It is a story about poverty, civil rights, folk art and crafts in rural America, about caring humans who became involved to help one another. The Freedom Quilting Bee touches many disciplines, but most of all, it gives us insight into the human heart."Alabama Review