Talk:Quilts of the Underground Railroad

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The tone and text of this article seek to persuade the reader that quilts were not used as a part of the underground railroad. This is the reason for the NPOV tag. futurebird 14:16, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

if you follow up on all the research that has been sited in the article, you will see that quilts were truly not a part of the underground railroad but a whim made up for a children's fiction book. while the tone may seem to be leading, it is only starting what has been documented. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:34, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
The tone of the article, from the first sentence, is mocking of the quilt theory. While the majority of historians may disagree with the theory — and I'm extremely skeptical myself — the article should describe the theory in an NPOV fashion before it presents arguments against it. Instead, the tone of the article attacks the quilt theory from the very beginning ("a theory has been advanced", "theory was promoted", "story ... is based on only one source").
I don't have time to work on this article right now, but a more neutral article might start by describing the theory in the first sentence, even with the follow-up that many or most historians of the period have questioned the theory and regard it as myth. Then the article might describe the quilt theory on its own terms in the first section, followed by a section about criticism of the theory by historians. It might conclude with a section about why a story regarded as a myth by historians attracted so much attention and gained such widespread acceptance. That would be a more NPOV presentation of the same material. — Malik Shabazz (Talk | contribs) 01:55, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

I don't have time to do it myself but someone might want to view this lecture and write something up. She addresses why this story has such appeal. She is a scholar of folklore and sees the value in this as folklore.

Lecture, "The Underground Railroad Quilt Controversy: Looking for the 'Truth'" by Laurel Horton. Scroll down the page a ways to find it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:36, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Malik, I agree with making these changes. futurebird 02:26, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

While the article is slanted, slanted against what should be asked? Nothing. The quilt story is pure myth, and should be dismissed as such. You would expect a strong POV when the alternative view is pure rubbish. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:43, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

There is not one single scrap of objective evidence for the so-called "quilt code." It has been thoroughly debunked by Underground Railroad scholars and quilt historians for years. Jacqueline Tobin has repeatedly refused to release her complete research, and fellow vendors at the same antiques mall where Ozella Williams had her stall have stated that Williams loved to tell outrageous stories to naive tourists about her quilts.

Don't change a word of this article.

Lisa Evans —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:56, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

If anything this article gives too much credence to a discredited myth. It should state right at the beginning that the idea was invented by a single author and has since been disproven. OrionClemens (talk) 21:47, 22 June 2011 (UTC)

  • I agree with OrionClemens. This article should be brought into compliance with NPOV: Pseudoscience and related fringe theories. This topic is an analogue to pseudoscience in the field of history, and should be rewritten accordingly. To quote that policy, replacing references to science with history:

While pseudohistory may in some cases be significant to an article, it should not obfuscate the description of the mainstream views of the historic community. Any inclusion of pseudohistoric views should be proportionate with the historic view. Likewise, the pseudohistoric view should be clearly described as such. An explanation of how historians have received pseudohistoric theories should be prominently included. This helps us to describe differing views fairly.

cmadler (talk) 03:54, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

Slave Haven[edit]

I strongly believe one should visit the Slave Haven - Underground Rail Road Museum (Burkle Estate) in Memphis Tennessee prior to discretiting the Quilts.

I have seen the Quilts, and although a closely guarded secret for one's safety, they are real and the content of them can clearly been seen and matched up with nearby grounds (and historical descriptions of the surrounding areas).

Many supporting information are available at Slave Haven.

Ann Lilly (talk) 17:04, 15 December 2009 (UTC) Hamilton Ontario - Canada (talk) 17:04, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

The Underground Railroad Quilt Code[edit]

"The Underground Railroad Quilt Code" was not the name used by my ancestors that organized and lead the enslave people in desperate escapes nor by the freedom seekers it assisted. After more than 5 generations our research now has many of the answers I have seen or been asked over the past 30 years. The Quilt Code was copyrighted by my family member in 1950 and again my late mother & I in the 1990's. We went to court in California and own the rights to our family story.

My parents & I opened an Historic Exhibition the Underground Railroad Quilt Code Museum in Atlanta Georgia in Underground Atlanta from 2005 to 2007. The exhibit was free to come to and donation based. We developed our website www.PlantationQuilts in an effort to centralized information and share our research. We exhibited textiles and artifacts from our families collections of over 250 textiles and 10,000 artifacts passed down through our family and from research trips to Africa, Middle East Europe and North America.

I still fight Human Trafficking, Domestic Violence. abuse, oppression, discrimination, poverty and inequalities of people today. Not just West Africans used textile languages, all societies have languages that are still in use today and globally understood. You speak textile languages. "The Quilt Code" name was not used by my family alone. It was coined when the book "Hidden In Plain View" was co-authored by Dr. Raymond Dobard & Dr. Jacqueline Tobin following a series of interviews (Copies of the tapes are still in existence).

I do a program called "Churches of the UGRR" to highlight the bravery and unsung efforts of many different denominations that have assisted in impromptu ways and in organized networks with financial resources, medical care, food, clothing, transportation for relocation, education or job training and housing. These are all of the same things needed today. Changes or stricter legislation saying it is illegal to take, hold against their will, sale or work people and not pay workers for their services.

Textile Languages[edit]

If I give you a word you will assign a universally understood meaning and visual image to the word. If I say professional football player many American people will think of a man who play in the National Football League (NFL). They will assign the attributes of the person as follows: college educated (since they can not go in to the NFL right out of high school. They would have been a high school/college stand out and have been drafted. They will have some idea of the income he makes. They will know the player can not be a women, since there are no women in the NFL. In many countries around the world, "football" players are soccer players. They will also fit many of the same attributes, strong, fast, fearless, not afraid of contact and have been athletes as a child and played on some lower organized teams.

If I say pope, doctor, soldier you will assign a uniform, surroundings all internationally based on a textile uniform these people wear when working.

There is no dispute that Africans since Egyptians made textiles and even (pieced fabric with a backing) quilts. The men made Kemet which are quilted cloth that are placed over camels. They have made quilted military attire and decorated attire for horses, bedding, tents, clothing to name a few.

Peter & Eliza Farrow[edit]

Peter Farrow was an itenerate metal smith from Awaka, Anambra State, Nigeria. In Nigeria he was part of a group of skilled craft guild members. These men included metal smiths who worked in metals like bronze, silver and gold; carpenters who worked in wood, gourd carvers, potters who worked in clay and other trades. They spoke a textile language that is still in use today.

These men would work in villages often traveling approximately a 150 mile radius away of their homes for a fee. They would travel up to six months out of a year. They were required to be present in their village at 4 major festivals each year or be financially fined. They would contribute a percentage of their earnings annually for the support of their village and tribe's needs.

These men were held in high esteem called "Dibia" (priest or leaders) and it is my belief that my ancestor traveled to check on the others that migrated from east Africa as a group. There is evidence of several migrations and the linguistic patterns, faith, culture and skills of east Africa are unique to the Igbo tribes and their descendants. These well respected elders were not just craftsmen, but traders faithful and multi-lingual. They brought goods and services throughout their villages. as well as, news, the latest fashion, and they taught and re-enforced religious customs and beliefs. They settled disputes,punished and honored individuals and the British missionaries wrote that these men the elders prayed for the sick and the were divinely healed the younger ones used herbs and administered medicine when traveling.

Groups of families migrated due to famine and wars from East Africa to West and some dispersed upon arriving in Nigeria. Some tribes wanted to continue to the sea since they previously had a seafaring life style. Others stayed where they found the confluence of salt water and fresh water like the Nile river in Egypt. Others were dispersed as the male children dispersed married and had a family and compound area to rule of their own.

Peter was captured, brought to America auctioned and sold into slavery. He was on a Glynn County GA Plantation. There he was valued 4 times by name along with the plantations other people. Over the years he along with his wife, gained the trust of his master.

They were able to freely travel plantation to plantation doing metal smithing and teaching & preaching the "Word of God". He is named in the 1844 last will and testimony of his first owner. At his death his nephew inherited the plantation and the enslaved people. When the second owner died the 1858 divides the plantation's workers between several family and friends.

Knowing that he would not have the same freedoms and liberties he previously enjoyed. He used the money he saved and purchased himself and his future wife Eliza.

My Family Oral History[edit]

It is difficult for most Americans to tell my family story without putting their own personal bias and racist spins on it. Slavery is bad no doubt. My family members on this plantation could keep a percentage of the proceeds from their labors for their own benefit all the days of their lives (as indicated in the wills for several of the slaves and there is mention of money that was to be given to former slaves who were now living free in Freetown, MS.)

In coastal Georgia, there were historic outbreaks of Yellow Fever that were killing European residents. So for survival the plantation owners and their families went north or on extended vacations to Europe during "skitter time" (times of the year when mosquitoes were at their worse). I am proud of my families diverse history and heritage whether they fought for the Confederate States of America or the Union. They stood up for what they believed and were willing to die for it and many did.

I was taught in high schools in Germany that in Africa...Africans were slavers and enslaved. Egypt is Africa! In America, Native Americans were slaves and slave holders. There were African and African American plantation owners, slave auctioneers, slave ship captains and slavers. I am not trying to prove one group or one countries slavery is worse or better.

My family is extremely diverse so my motive in sharing my family's documented oral history is to heal individuals and communities. I use our historical examples to teach delayed gratification and reconciliation skills. Our mission statement is located at

I am the great granddaughter of a South Carolina plantation owner of Rock Hill Plantation, SC David Richardson Strother (1814-1870) and also a descendant of former slaves. Both my paternal great grandparents were either descendants of slaves or were still on plantations when legislation was passed ending slavery.

Southern Plantations Were Not All the Same[edit]

On this plantation the slaves quarters were described by a British visitor as "cottages" with gardens between them and he said, in comparison their quarters made his home in England look like a hovel. There was a need for Blacksmiths on all of the neighboring plantations and Peter was hired out by his master on a consistent basis when he was there. He continued hiring himself out and gave his owner the agreed upon percentage from monies earned when he returned. In my research, I have encountered and documented more than 150 "Awakisms" from Peter & Eliza's cultures that they passed down to his son Rev. Peter Farrow, who married a women name Maliza (She was called Liza and in the US Census Records we have she is listed as Eliza). We have marriage records signed by Peter Farrow, my mother knew her great grandfather.They had 4 children on was my mother's grandmother Nora.3. His daughter Nora Bell Farrow married William McDaniel and had my grandmother Mary Eva McDaniel who married Milton Strother and had my late mother Serena Wilson. She married Howard Wilson and had me.

The people who say the Quilt Code is not true have not looked at the textiles of any other country but American and are in need of broader educations. I never had anyone come face to face to asked me to see documentation. Leigh Fellner did not consider the Igbo custom where the father names the son after him. There are two Peter Farrow's. There are more than 5 Serena's and many William Strother's in my family lines.

I will be adding the citations and photos to this discussion over the next week. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Teresa Kemp (talkcontribs) 01:42, 21 January 2014 (UTC)

This section of the Talk Page isn't really about editing the article, is full of typos, makes many claims with no support, etc. Can I simply delete it, or is there a process to follow? Jk180 (talk) 12:54, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
The best thing to do would be to archive this page, considering that the newest messages are over a year old. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 17:19, 26 June 2015 (UTC)

Neutral point of view[edit]

This article seems to have a somewhat biased and, in my view, unnecessarily aggressive tone. I realize that many historians consider this theory to be thoroughly debunked, but there is more than enough controversy over the slave quilt theory to push it out of the "fringe" category. I would rewrite the article myself, but I don't know where I would start and don't really have the time. Reschultzed|||Talk|||Contributions 03:53, 6 January 2016 (UTC)

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