Piecing our history together at the library

Published 9:45 pm Tuesday, May 11, 2021

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Jessamine County Public Library

From May 1 through Nov. 1,the  Jessamine County Public Library will celebrate the art of quilting with workshops, presentations, scavenger hunts and a community quilt project.

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Just like books, quilts tell stories, mark momentous occasions, record history and paint pictures of our lives. According to Connie Martin, quilts may have helped guide some enslaved people to freedom on the Underground Railroad.

JCPL will host a special virtual program featuring Martin on May 13 at 6 p.m. on Zoom: “Pre-Civil War Quilts: Secret Codes to Freedom on the Underground Railroad.” Registration is required.

During this program, Martin will share family stories about the secret codes stitched into quilts. Her multi-media presentation will include a display of over a dozen hand-crafted quilt replicas of patterns and special stitching used over 300 years ago by abolitionists and fugitive slaves to signify escape routes to the North.

Martin is a sixth-generation descendant of people who were captured in Africa and enslaved. Her mother, Dr. Clarice Cannon Boswell, was born and raised in Nicholasville. Martin based her presentation on her mother’s book, “Lizzie’s Story: A Slave Family’s Journey to Freedom.”

Martin is a member of the Illinois Humanities Road Scholar Speakers Bureau for 2021 and 2022. In a recent email, Martin wrote that she is excited to present in the city where her mother was raised and “near the area our ancestors thrived.” She added, “I have done dozens of presentations all over the country, but this one will be special!”

The JCPL Book Club will discuss “Lizzie’s Story: A Slave Family’s Journey to Freedom” on Thursday, May 27 at 6 p.m. on Zoom. Registration is required. Registrants may check out a copy of the book at the Customer Service Desk.

To register for these programs or learn more about JCPL’s community quilt project, visit our website at www.jesspublib.org/ and click “events calendar.

Carrie Green is the user education librarian for Jessamine County Public Library. You can reach her at cgreen@jesspublib.org or via phone at 859-885-3523 ext. 243.