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Sentimental Gifts in Quilts

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Sentimental Gifts in Quilts

Quilts were used for various reasons throughout history and they have been a sentimental part of the African American culture for many years. According to Professor Florett Barnett Cash “Quilts can be used as resources in reconstructing the experiences of African American women. They provide a record of their cultural and political past” (Cash 30). “Everyday Use”, by Alice Walker illustrates how a quilt that was prepared by Miss Johnson and Maggie played a sentimental, yet important part in their family’s, heritage and bond they shared.

Alice Walker integrates the connotation and symbolism of traditional quilts through her short story, “Everyday Use”. More importantly, Walker illustrates her point through the reasoning of the quilts between Dee and her mother. During Dee’s visit home, she found the quilts in a “trunk at the foot [of her mother’s] bed, then visualized the patches of art work hanging against a wall. Dee also knew that the quilts were priceless. Miss Johnson asked Dee, “What would you do with them?” Dee said, “Hang them. As if that was the only thing you could do with the quilts” (Walker 456). In contrast, Maggie and her mother kept the quilts in a safe place, because they understood the significant role the quilts played in their

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family’s heritage. with this in mind, Maggie and Miss Johnson wanted the story behind the quilts to be remembered and told, in the course of everyday use.

Professor Florett Barnett Cash studied and discussed in his journal the importance of African American culture through quilts. He included sources to help us understand what different pieces in traditional quilts symbolize and how pieces of patch work sewn together engaged in art and tradi...

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...uilts against a wall, while Miss Johnson and Maggie sought history, significance, and bonding they both knew, would only be remembered through the quilts.

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Work’s Cited

Floris Barnett Cash Kinship and Quilting: An Examination of an African-American Tradition

The Journal of Negro History, (Winter, 1995) 30-41

Published by: Association for the Study of African-American Life and History, Inc.

The Underground Railroad and the Secret Codes of Antebellum Slave Quilts

The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, 46 (Winter, 2004-2005).

Published by: The JBHE Foundation

Barboza, Steven. The African American Book Of Values. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell,

1998."American Civil War." Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2009. Web. 15 Nov. 2009.