Since quilting is my passion, I sneek it into my curriculum at school whenever possible. Starting with Martin Luther King's Birthday and continueing through the month of February, we study African American History. I'll bet it didn't take you very long to guess that I teach my class about the Underground Railroad and the Freedom Quilts!!!
The children love learning about the quilts and quilt blocks and their secret meaning. The quilckly learn the code of the quilts and love hearing the stories of the Underground Railroad.
Today we talked about what the Underground Railroad was and discussed some of the vocabulary we will be using in the next few weeks. We also read the book Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkinson. Clara was a young slave taken away from her mother at a very early age. She was frail and not doing well working in the fields. One of the women taught her to sew so well that she was allowed to work with the seamstesses in the main house and no longer have to work in the fields.
As Clara grew she listened to everyone around her as they spoke and told stories. She realized that if she was ever going to be free, she needed to know what was beyond the fields. She began saving scraps of fabrics for her sewing projects and stitched them into a quilt. She used the fabrics and thread to make a map of the land.
This map helped Clara, her boyfriend ( who became her husband ) and many others escape to freedom.
My class loved learning that quilts could hold secrets. They like learning about the codes and how quilts could help slaves escape to freedom.