Monday, January 21, 2008

Gee's Bend women weren't just making quilts

marjorie says...

Thanks to Oprah's MLK special today, I found out that in the 1960's the community of Gee's Bend became more isolated from the world than it already was due to civil rights movement. You can read about it here on Oprah's website.

Gee's Bend is a small African American community, surrounded on water by three sides, that had always depended on a ferry boat to get across to the larger town of Camden, for food, medicine, education, etc. The esteemed leaders of Camden shut the ferry down to keep them away when the civil rights marches started...and apparently they didn't restore it for 30 some odd years. The only way to then get to Camden was a one-hour car ride, and not everyone had a car.

Little did the white folks in Camden know that they were further isolating the women who were, every day, making the premier folk art of the 20th century. I don't think my opinion when I say their quilts warrant that designation is sheer bias, either. Here's a page I like a lot.

If you find these quilts interesting, you might want to check out the exhibit that is currently at the International Folk Art Museum in Santa Fe.