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Ghana, The Underground Railroad, Adinkra Symbols Quilts with Eileen Edwards

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The Gist of Freedom

The Gist of Freedom


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Ghana, The Underground Railroad, Adinkra Symbols Quilts with Eileen Edwards 

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African textile motifs and indigenous writing symbols were integrated into African American quilts. Writing systems such as vai (Liberia) and nsibidi (Nigeria) converged with adinkra  symbols (Ghana), nkisi charms(Congo) adire patterns (Yoruba) and kuba designs (Congo).  "Geometric patterns, abstract designs, strip piecing, bold colors and distinctive stitches" were some of the elements of encoding. Various African- derived secret codes were embedded in the designs.The quilts were  at the center of the resistance  movement associated with  the underground movement in the resistance against enslavement. 


Four editions of William Still's Book The Underground Railroad

Still Family reprint of William Still's Underground Railroad book with Francine Still-Hicks Art Work on the Cover.

By the early 1800s, the Still family was firmly established in southern New Jersey, particularly in the area that became Lawnside, a hamlet neighboring Haddonfield.

Lawnside was incorporated in 1926; it is believed to be the first self-governing, overwhelmingly African-American town in the North. It remains 94 percent African-American and full of Stills—perhaps as many as 100 members of the extended family.

Last summer marked the 146th Still reunion—

William Still the youngest of Charity and Levin Still's eighteen children was the Black abolitionist from Philadelphia who was described by the New York Times as William Still - known as the Father of the Underground Railroad - who, even in the 19th century embodied these modern feats. He commissioned Harriet Tubman's rescue missions. Still literally wrote the Underground Railroad book.