The Underground Railroad

I'm going to share a couple of books with you that I use to introduce  the Underground Railroad to my children at school.  My second graders are fasinated by these stories and they always beg for more.

The first is "The Secret to Freedom", by Marcia Vaughan.  This book tells the story of an aunt telling her niece how she and her brother were able to escape slavery via the Underground Railroad and with the help of the quilt code hidden in Freedom Quilts.  Within the story of their journey, the book explains which blocks were used to secretly convey messages to slaves on route to freedom in the north.

The second book is "The Patchwork Path, a Quilt Map to Freedom", by Bettye Stroud.  This book tells the story of a little girl who was separated from her sister who was sold to a different plantation.  Her mother died shortly after.  She and her father escaped slavery using the quilt codes taught to her by her late mother and sewn into her quilt. The quilt blocks are illustrated clearly and their code explained in detail.  At the end of the story, the girl makes a new quilt out of their old slave clothes. She  leaves a part of the quilt empty because she misses her sister and vows to finish the quilt when her sister joins them some day.

I make eight inch square paper blocks with the code block patterns printed on them.  While we read and study these stories, the children color the blocks and can assemble their own "Freedom Quilt". It amazes me how quickly the children learn what the various quilt blocks stand for.  They really like learning a secret code and planning a path across a map of our country.    Enjoy!!!

Happy Quilting!