Underground Railroad Quilt Project

Middle school social studies students read about the Underground Railroad and the quilt codes used during the early to mid-19th century.  The Underground Railroad was used by enslaved African-Americans to escape into free states and Canada. The scheme was assisted by abolitionists and others sympathetic to the cause of the escaping slaves.

Students were tasked with making a paper quilt and then describe the “message” that was being conveyed.  Each quilt block sent a specific message. The blocks in the photograph above conveyed the following message: The “Monkey Wrench” turns the “Wagon Wheel” at “9:00 o’clock” following the “North Star” to the “Log Cabin” for some “Bow Ties”. Bow ties represented getting a change of clothes.


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