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on 4 March 1999
I have always been a student of history and considered myself fairly well informed. I am also a musician and thought I knew something about spirituals. This book destroyed both beliefs. I will never view a quilt or hear a spiritual again without new found knowledge.
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on 4 February 1999
If you're interested in how human beings survive and thrive under adverse circumstances and are specifically interested in the reliance and resourcefulness of the bearers of African culture, you'll enjoy this book. I feel someone should respond to the profoundly inaccurate characterzations of this book by "danael@earthlink.net from California" and to a lesser degree "A reader from Oregon." Contrary to claims by Danael, NOWHERE in the book do the authors "attempt to usurp the origin of quilting patterns and assign them to another group." In fact, early on they state very clearly that the tradition of quilting they describe is "a cultural hybrid, mixing African encoding traditions with American quilt patterning conventions..." Another blatant inaccuracy is the statement that no original African-American quilts appear in the book. This is simply not true. The book contains color reproductions of African, traditional African-American, and contemporary African-American quilts, including a quilt belonging to Frederick Douglass. As for the Oregon reader's statement that "title is a misnomer as to total content" this is also not factual. The book's title "Hidden in Plain View: A Secret Story of Quilts and the Undeground Railroad" is a very precise and complete description of the book's contents. Another statment by the same reviewer is so inaccurate as to be bizarre: "The amount of information contained about quilts and patterns and their meanings could be explained in a 1-2 page article." The origins and possible meanings of over ten patterns are discussed, each pattern requiring several pages worth of exposition. I hope that no one is discouraged from reading this remarkable book by reviews that fail the test of basic accuracy. This book is worthy of attention and study.
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on 3 June 1999
Really good account of an oral history story. True, there aren't many concrete facts in this book, but not many concrete facts exist about women's day-to-day history, day-to-day African American slave history, and slave involvement in the Freedom Train. This book presents what has traditionally been an oral history story and "passes it on" to a wider audience. I thank the authors and Ozella McDaniel for letting me share in their community.
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on 24 November 2012
I had also ordered the Underground Railroad patterns in the book of the sampler and now understand the background to some of the designs
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on 15 May 1999
I have read of hints of this in other books and was pleased to read a book on the subject. I'm sure there will be those that do not think there is enough proof of the story, but it is like the American Indian it was handed down by word of mouth. I would love to have some of these quilts for our annual quilt show, I have some of the patterns but they were not made by the African Americans.
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on 16 July 2013
This is an interesting study, very carefully researched. Easy to read and would be useful background to anyone wanting to know more about the melding of African and European craft work which developed over many years leading up to the abolition of slavery. There is an extensive bibliography.
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on 1 June 2013
This book is extremely badly written due to the endless repetition and padding. If it were edited to the extent required it would be a very thin book indeed.
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on 24 January 1999
Powerful. Riveting. Compelling. A Wake-Up Call to All Researchers and Historians Everywhere. --Wilene Smith, quilt historian
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on 29 January 2014
This is more of a text book than an easy read, but from what I've read so far I'm really enjoying the info unfolding. Thanks.
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on 7 November 2014
Fascinating insight into slavery and the secret messages in the quilt blocks made. Also contains patterns.
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