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Books to Explore: African American Quilts

Quilting is a long held tradition in the African American community. From slavery until modern times, this tradition is a unique aspect of the African American home and life that should be celebrated. Want to learn more about the history of African American Quilts? Check out these books below to get started. This is a great starter list to explore this tradition true African American design element. If you have images of family quilts, be sure to share with us by email at or social media using the hashtag #blacksouthernbelle

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Spirits of the Cloth: Contemporary African American QuiltsHardcover – November 3, 1998

Celebrates the African American quilting tradition with illustrations of 150 contemporary quilts, accompanied by information on their creators and the meaning of each piece of fabric art

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The Soulful Art of AfricanAmerican Quilts: Nineteen Bold, Improvisational Projects

Renowned designer Sonie Ruffin creates 11 contemporary quilts based on the collection featured in Bold Improvisation: Searching for AfricanAmerican Quilts The Heffley Collection.

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A Communion of the Spirits: African-American Quilters, Preservers, and Their Stories 

Looks at the wide variety of roles that quilting plays in African American life, including physical, spiritual, cultural, and historical roles

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The Quilts of Gee’s Bend 

Since the early nineteenth century, the women of Gee’s Bend in southern Alabama have created stunning, vibrant quilts. In the only photo-essay book about the quilts of Gee’s Bend for children, award-winning author Susan Goldman Rubin explores the history and culture of this fascinating group of women and their unique quilting traditions. Rubin uses meticulous research to offer an exclusive look at an important facet of African American art and culture.

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Opening Day: 14 Quilts Celebrating the Life and Times of Negro League Baseball

Start with Sonie Ruffin, quilt artist, and longtime friend of Negro Leagues great Buck O’Neil. Add the rich history of Negro League baseball. The result: 14 contemporary quilts illustrating this story of baseball history, each with complete instructions

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Michiel Perry

Michiel is a Black Southern Belle living a lowcountry life. I love all things fashion, home decor and southern! When I am not running around doing fun stuff for Black Southern Belle, I live in antique stores and have a minor obsession with historic homes 🙂

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