Monday, October 27, 2014

Quilts, Poetry & Freedom Fighters in Greensboro, Alabama

Last week we visited Greensboro, Alabama, as part of Alabama Folklife Association's "Common Threads" programming on the textile arts in our state.

We started out at Magnolia Grove where we saw the oldest quilt in America and some other quilts like this one:

Don't you love those butterflies?! What a great way to border a crazy quilt.

While walking the property after viewing the outdoor kitchen and the slave house, where we found this fragment of a poem written by the once-owner of the home...

...we spied something neither Paul nor I had ever seen before: droppings from an Osage orange tree (thanks to our new friend Liz for enlightening us!).

Next we visited The Safe House Black History Museum ("Safe House" because one night Martin Luther King, Jr., stayed there to avoid confrontation with various Klan groups who were waiting at all the road intersections exiting Greensboro) where we were greeted by this tribute to Rosa Parks and 42,000 other footsoldiers for freedom:

But the highlight (and surprise!) was meeting Theresa Burroughs, who founded the museum and was an activist during the Movement:

Here she is in 1965 after being rounded up by police at a protest:

To find out more about Theresa, check out this short documentary. SO inspiring for anyone who values...

We enjoyed a delicious fried catfish lunch at Mustang Oil, which looks like a sleepy gas station, but inside it buzzed with what seemed like all of Greensboro:

Finally we learned all about National Arts Fellow Nora Ezell and her quilts. I  came home with her book My Quilts and Me, and I have been devouring it! Here's a quilt from the collection of Mary Elizabeth "Sunshine" Johnson, who compiled the book and gave the presentation:

And I'll leave you with a quote from the late great Nora Ezell herself:

"The point is learn to do with what you have and that's what quilts are all about. Taking nothing and making something of it."

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