African American children's literature is rich with significant themes and tropes that educators can effectively use to teach about important events, figures, and historical facts in a culturally sensitive way to a diverse classroom of students. It is extremely important that teachers have a thorough understanding of the particular tropes that they may choose to dissect and teach from a selection of African American Children's Literature. In addition it is extremely important for educators to be familiar with African American history in order to appropriately relate the valuable ideals and themes from within the selected literature.
[...] Hannah's story in this African American children's literature book combined with Williams' personal chronicles give the quilt trope a historical context from which to understand and teach. The Secret to Freedom (2001) by Marcia Vaughan is yet another example of the quilt guiding slaves and their families to freedom using symbols that are stitched onto the quilt. This story begins with a little girl asking her Great Aunt Lucy why she keeps an old scrap of cloth on the wall of her kitchen. [...]
[...] Another example of how quilts in African American children's literature are used as symbolism in the escape of slaves can be seen in the book Under the Quilt of Night (2002) by Deborah Hopkinson where a young girl helps lead her family to freedom. As they travel through the woods, they see a quilt and realize that it is safe to knock on the door of the house. Once inside, they are safe and are able to eat and sleep. [...]
[...] Although quilts and the act of quilting are important aspects in everyday lives of generations of African Americans, the period of slavery is one of the most significant time periods where quilts are used as an intentional means to freedom. Quilts are used as warnings, as guides, as messages, in the Underground Railroad, throughout slavery as they carried messages and enslaved African Americans to freedom. The Quilt and Family Life When girls are young, making quilts is seen as a domestic responsibility. [...]
[...] Another example of how African American children's literature portrays how the quilt is used to guide slaves to freedom during the period of enslavement can be seen in The Patchwork Path: A Quilt Map to Freedom (2005) by Bettye Stroud. In this book, Hannah is a young girl on a plantation where her sister has been sold and her mother has passed away. Luckily, before her mother had passed, she had helped Hannah sew a quilt and taught her the important symbols that she would need to know someday when she would run for freedom. [...]
[...] Hopkinson, Deborah (1993). Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Hopkinson, Deborah. (2002). Under the Quilt of Night. New York: Simon and Schuster. King Mitchell, Margaree (1993). Uncle Jed's Barber Shop. New York: First Aladdin Paperbacks. McKissack, Patricia (1988). Mirandy and Brother Wind. New York: Dragonfly Books. McKissack, Patricia (2002). A Picture of Freedom: Diary of Clotee, A Slave Girl. New York: Dragonfly Books. Porter, Connie (2001). Addy's Wedding Quilt. Middleton, WI: Pleasant Company Publications. Quiltmakers. [...]
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