On this day in 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I Have A Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial.
Beverly Ann White of Pontiac, Michigan made this quilt, titled “View from the Mountain Top” in 1991. White made this quilt to teach students, family, and friends about important heroes in African-American history. The quilt features appliqued and embroidered portraits of Medgar Evers, Thrugood Marshall, Martin Luther King, Jr., Harriet Tubman, Frances E.W. Harper, Sojourner Truth, Mary McLeod Bethune, Frederick Douglass, Ralph Bunche, Booker T. Washington, and W.E.B. Dubois. [Dr. King’s “I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech was delivered on April 3, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.] White donated her quilt to the Michigan State University Museum in 2003.
On this day in 1833, Margarethe Meyer Schurz was born in Hamburg, Germany. Schurtz studied education with Freidrich Froebel, the creator of the “kindergarten” concept, then moved to the U.S. and founded the country’s first kindergarten. The program, in Watertown, Wisconsin, lead young children in games, songs and group activities channeling their energy and preparing them for primary school.
Maude Ada Franks Combs made this String Quilt in the 1930’s in Wellington, Texas. The quilt is foundation machine pieced and hand quilted and was one of many that Combs made for her family, teaching her daughter (who now owns the quilt) the “necessary homemaking arts” in the process. Combs’ daughter wrote: “I do not recall at what age she taught me to mark, cut, and string tiny pieces for intricate blocks, but when I was enrolled in kindergarten, I had scissor marks on my right hand and my thimble finger was already bent and I was not even five years old.”
The quilt was documented during the Texas Quilt Search Project and is included in the book Lone Stars: A Legacy of Texas Quilts, Vol. II, 1936-1986, by Karoline Patterson Bresenhan and Nancy O’Bryant Puentes (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1990. It was included in an exhibition by the same name at the 1990 International Quilt Festival, Houston, Texas.
On this day in 1920, the 19th Amendment of the United States Constitution is adapted guaranteeing American women the right to vote. The amendment reads: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex” and “Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”
Gerry Krueger of Spokane, Washington, made this quilt titled “It’s a Man’s World Unless Women Vote!” in 2011 for the Quilt Alliance contest, “Alliances: People, Patterns, Passion.” Krueger wrote in her artist’s statement: “When seeing the photo of the men facing backward juxtaposed to the photo of the women facing forward, I knew I wanted the suffrage movement to be the theme of my AAQ entry.”
On this day in 1927, American tennis champion Althea Gibson was born in Silver, South Carolina. Despite a challenging childhood spent in the New York City borough of Harlem, Gibson made history as the first African-American tennis player to compete at both the U.S. National Championships (1950) and Wimbledon (1951).
Althea Orr Diament hand pieced and hand quilted this Square Within a Square quilt in 1900 in Cedarville, New Jersey. Her granddaughter now owns the quilt and documented it as part of The Heritage Quilt Project of New Jersey, Inc.
On this day in 1983, Hurricane Alicia formed south of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico. Twenty-one deaths and billions of dollars of damage were caused by the storm.
Louisiana quiltmaker Wealthy Alicia Logan Long made this Crazy quilt 100 years earlier (1883). From this Quilt Index record: “Maker had 9 children. The quilt was found between a feather bed and plain mattress on an old brass and iron bed… This is the makers only known quilt.” The quilt is owned by the Parkdotan Plantation and owners documented it as part of the Louisiana Quilt Documentation Project in 1987.
On this day in 1950, Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise, Princess Royal of England, was born to then Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh, and Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Anne had an interest in pharology, the study of lighthouses, and as a patron of the Northern Lighthouse Board, visited each of Scotland’s 215 lighthouses.
This Lighthouse sampler titled “Beacons of Home” was created by Carol A. Hare of Saginaw, Michigan in 1999. The hand appliqued, embroidered and quilted piece was a gift for Hare’s brother. “The lighthouses represent places in which my brother has lived or worked around the U.S. and Canada and come to from his travels.” The quilt’s label includes a pocket with an insert listing each lighthouse and its location. The owner of the quilt received it as a gift and documented it as part of the Michigan Quilt Project.
On this day in 1892, the “Baltimore Afro-American” newspaper was founded by former slave John H. Murphy, Jr. Two editions of the paper are still in circulation—one in Baltimore, and the other in Washington D.C.
Elizabeth Perry of Bethesda, Maryland machine pieced this sunny yellow and gold Pineapple Log Cabin quilt in 1932. Perry did not use a frame, but hand quilted it (12 stitches per inch) while sitting on the floor. The quilt was documented in 1985 during the North Carolina Quilt Project by the niece of the quiltmaker.
On this day in 1990, self-taught fossil hunter Susan Hendrickson discovered three large bones jutting out of a click near Faith, South Dakota. The bones turned out to be the largest Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton ever discovered. The nearly 90 percent complete 65 million-year-old remains were later dubbed Sue.
Carrie Elizabeth McLane Flannery of Faith, South Dakota, won a Blue Ribbon for this Crazy Quilt in the South Dakota State Fair. Flannery made the quilt between 1901-1926, and the current owner documented the quilt during the Minnesota Quilt Project in the 1990’s.
On this day in 1861, American composer Carrie Jacobs-Bond was born in Janesville, Wisconsin. Her most popular songs were “I Love You Truly (1901) and “A Perfect Day” (1910).
Norwegian-born mother of eight Grunhild Loftus Anderson hand appliqued and hand quilted this cream and yellow feedsack Hour Glass Variation quilt in the early 1900’s. At the time Anderson lived in Sand Creek, Wisconsin (about 244 miles northwest of Janesville). A blood relative of the quiltmaker documented the quilt in 2003 as part of the Wisconsin Quilt History Project.
On this day in 1950, American Florence Chadwick swam the English Channel from France to England in 13 hours and 20 minutes, breaking the record of Gertrude Ederle. In 1951 she became the first woman to swim from England to France, making her the first woman to swim the channel in both directions.
And unnamed quilter from Alva, Wyoming made this Crazy Quilt between 1950-75. The quilt is a “summer quilt,” no batting, but backed and bound. Scrap fabrics including old garments were used to make the quilt. The record notes: “Some fabrics indicate a post-war Asian connection; a windsurfer in 1940s’ swim trunks with “Samoa” and “Phillippines” printed on it; another has oriental figures with Japanese? Calligraphy; a Balinese dancer with multi-tiered pagoda– may be from a tie…” The quiltmaker’s paternal granddaughter inherited the quilt and documented it during the Wyoming Quilt Project in 2003.