On View
Cultural Expressions Gallery
Exhibition
Cultural Expressions
Created by
Telfair, Jessie Bell Williams, American, 1913 - 1986
Date
ca. 1975
Medium
cotton
Dimensions
H x W: 73 × 87 in. (185.4 × 221 cm)
Caption
Quilter Jessie Telfair was inspired to make this quilt in the mid-1970’s as an expression and memorialization of her experiences during the Civil Rights Movement. In the 1960s, Telfair was encouraged by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee’s efforts to register African American voters in Southwest Georgia. Telfair decided to register to vote. When her employers learned of her actions, they fired her from her job as a cafeteria worker at an elementary school in her small community of Parrott, Georgia. The quilt is an affirmation of her personal freedom as well as a statement about the freedoms guaranteed to all American citizens. Telfair later made two more quilts of nearly identical design, one is in the collection of the American Folk Art Museum in New York and the other is at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.
Description
A pieced and appliqued cotton quilt designed and quilted by Jessie Telfair. The quilt consists of bold blue block letters on red squares, arranged to spell the word [FREEDOM] along a horizontal axis, repeated in six rows. Smaller white square blocks separate the red squares. The backing is white.
Place made
Parrott, Terrell County, Georgia, United States, North and Central America
Classification
Decorative Arts, Craft, and Design
Textiles-Quilts
Type
quilts
Topic
American South
Art
Civil rights
Craftsmanship
Design
Folklife
Freedom
Resistance
Rural life
Suffrage
Textile design
Credit Line
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Virginia Dwan
Object number
2017.40
Restrictions & Rights
No Known Copyright Restrictions
GUID
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/fd54b3f9bd5-b5c9-47fe-8a65-a6b729cf42cd
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