Underground Railroad quilt donated to Rosa Parks Museum

Posted: Tuesday, 29 June 2010

MONTGOMERY—A quilt replicating designs said to have been used to send coded messages to slaves escaping along the Underground Railroad has been donated to the permanent collection at Troy University’s Rosa Parks Museum.

Dorothy Logan of Harrisonburg, VA, said the story of the Underground Railroad, and the strength and character of Harriet Tubman inspired her to create the quilt. Its design is based on those in the book “Underground Railroad Sampler.”

“The ‘Underground Railroad Sampler’ provided a means for me to transform my stitches into prayers for action: that injustice today might be brought to justice, bondage to freedom and disrespect to respect,” Logan said.

The quilt was presented to the museum on Wednesday, June 23.

The quilt’s blocks recreate the symbols that are said to have been used to send hidden messages to slaves attempting to escape to the North.

“With every stitch I felt such a connection to the past,” Logan said. “I felt like this quilt just had to go someplace.”

She contacted the Rosa Parks Museum because she felt the quilt was a fitting tribute as well to the strength and character of Rosa Parks. The quilt is dedicated to the memory of Tubman, Parks and Ozella McDaniel Williams, the Charleston, S.C., quilter whose oral history of the Underground Railroad quilts is recorded in the book “Hidden in Plain View.”

“The three women I honor in this story quilt … carried the meaning, comfort and strength of inheritance embedded in quilts in their bones,” Logan said.

Logan, who calls herself an “intermediate” quilter, has completed more than a dozen quilts many of which have been donated to charitable causes. She is retired form the insurance industry and is an active member of Park View Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg.

Underground Railroad

Dorothy Logan, left, of Harrisonburg, VA, and Georgette Norman, director of the Troy University’s Rosa Parks Museum display an Underground Railroad quilt that Logan donated to the museum’s permanent collection on Wednesday, June 23. The quilt recreates the symbols said to have been used to send coded messages to slaves escaping to the North. (TROY photo/Matt Clower).