Monday, May 25, 2009

Underground Railroad Sampler

This is a special day for my family and my fellow Americans. Memorial Day is meant for pause to remember our servicemen and women; including those who have gone before us. We pause to remember our POW's and MIA's; and we reflect on the sacrifices they have made to ensure that the United States and its citizens continue to enjoy their freedom and liberties.
Since there is no school and no work, today, my son and I went to Barnes and Noble to relax and grab a smoothie. As some of my friends know, I am not earning an income at the moment, since I've had to resign my job due to the Air Force moving us to Florida in two weeks. I am itching to start on a new quilt project, nontheless. While at B & N, I picked up a book on Underground Railroad quilts written by Eleanor Burns and Susan Bouchard called Undeground Railroad Sampler . A few days ago, my friend Mary Rogers had shared an underground railroad quilt she had made, so when I found this book, I was so delighted and inspired to make one, also.
Did you know that there is much controversy over whether or not the quilts' purpose was to guide slaves through the Underground Railroad? Some scholars will tell you that the blocks are meaningless, while others will say that they played a fundemental role in assisting slaves in their plight to escape and move northward.
I bought the book, and in true "Civil War-era" fashion, I am going to use up my scraps for the Underground Railroad quilt I am going to make. I have tons of browns, reds, greens and tans from the "Around the Block" quilt that I just finished this week. I thought it was fitting to use up scraps just as fabric was scarce during the Civil War.
From another book about Underground Railroad quilts, I found a picture of General George Armstrong Custer, his wife, and a female slave. Yes, a slave. General Custer, a Union soldier, had slaves. The photograph was taken around the time the Confederacy surrendered and just two days before President Abraham Lincoln was assasinated. I found the photograph quite ironic. While General Custer was fighting a war to liberate slaves, he, himself, was a contradiction of the Union's ideals. You have to wonder how many Union soldiers owned slaves? Confederate General Robert E. Lee, himself, freed the slaves placed in his charge BEFORE the Emancipation Proclamation was made. It is quite ironic, isn't it?
On this Memorial Day, let's never forget where we came from, our history, and how we have arrived where we are today. Let us remember the courage of the soliders of the American Revolution, our Union Soldiers, those who served in World War II, Korea, Viet Nam, and those who continue to protect our freedom in all four corners of our world, today. Let's never take our liberties for granted. May you and yours have a blessed and safe Memorial Day!


Mary said...

I AM SO EXCITED FOR YOU! I have this book too. We purchased it when we started the class for the Underground Railroad quilt. I can't wait to see yours. I know it will be beautiful!

Karen said...

That Is ironic!! I didn't realize that Lee freed his slaves before the war. I am really enjoying your quilts and the experiences you share about making them. I'm looking forward to seeing this quilt evolve as well! :>