An American Quilt : : Unfolding a Story of Family and Slavery
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Call Number: Black Studies 306.73 Ma
On Shelf At: Downtown Library
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"This is a work of creative nonfiction.... [B]ecause the records of enslaved people in the antebellum era are so scant, I have imagined their lives based on historical and contextual information. I make clear with the text what is known fact and where I'm imagining."--Page ix.
Piecing the quilt -- Eliza, Minerva, & Juba -- Warp & weft : agriculture & industry -- Mosaic -- Medicine & its failures -- Hickory root -- The Leonids : a sermon in patchwork -- Even there -- Canuto Matanew -- An abomination -- Living history -- Portraits.
"Following the trail left by an unfinished quilt, this illuminating saga examines slavery from the cotton fields of the South to the textile mills of New England--and the humanity behind it. When we think of slavery, most of us think of the American South. We think of back-breaking fieldwork on plantations. We don't think of slavery in the North, nor do we think of the grueling labor of urban and domestic slaves. Rachel May's rich new book explores the far reach of slavery, from New England to the Caribbean, the role it played in the growth of mercantile America, and the bonds between the agrarian south and the industrial north in the antebellum era--all through the discovery of a remarkable quilt. While studying objects in a textile collection, May opened a veritable treasure-trove: a carefully folded, unfinished quilt made of 1830s-era fabrics, its backing containing fragile, aged papers with the dates 1798, 1808, and 1813, the words 'shuger, ' 'rum, ' 'casks, ' and 'West Indies, ' repeated over and over, along with 'friendship, ' 'kindness, ' 'government, ' and 'incident.' The quilt top sent her on a journey to piece together the story of Minerva, Eliza, Jane, and Juba--the enslaved women behind the quilt--and their owner, Susan Crouch. May brilliantly stitches together the often-silenced legacy of slavery by revealing the lives of these urban enslaved women and their world. Beautifully written and richly imagined, An American Quilt is a luminous historical examination and an appreciation of a craft that provides such a tactile connection to the past."--Jacket.
Following the trail left by an unfinished quilt, May examines slavery from the cotton fields of the South to the textile mills of New England-- and the humanity behind it. In piecing together the story of Minerva, Eliza, Jane, and Juba-- the enslaved women behind a quilt made of 1830s-era fabric-- and their owner, Susan Crouch, May reveals the lives of these urban enslaved women and their world. -- adapted from jacket.
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New York : Pegasus Books, 2018.
Year Published: 2018
Description: ix, 452 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), portraits, genealogical table ; 24 cm
Slavery -- United States -- History.