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Sewing Stories: Harriet Powers' Journey from Slave to Artist

Harriet Powers learned to sew and quilt as a young slave girl on a Georgia plantation. She lived though the Civil War and Reconstruction, and eventually owned a cotton farm with her family, all the while relying on her skills with the needle to clothe and feed her children. Later she began making pictorial quilts, using each square to illustrate Bible stories and local legends. She exhibited her quilts at local cotton fairs, and though she never traveled outside of Georgia, her quilts are now priceless examples of African American folk Art.

Published by Alfred A. Knopf
October, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-385-75462-0

Publishers Weekly Review:

"Born into slavery on a Georgia plantation, Harriet Powers learned to quilt from a young age, developing into a skilled artist. Brantley-Newton's collages incorporate photographic snippets of burlap, cotton, and other textiles, while Herkert ably places Powers's life in historical content, as she was eventually forced to sell the two "story quilts" she created in order to make ends meet after the Civil War. The quilts themselves (which now hang in museums) get large-scale reproductions on the endpapers, as well as numbered explanations of the biblical and real-life events reflected within their panels. Ages 4-8