Friday, February 18, 2011

Messages on Quilts

According to “The City of Owen Sound” ( historians have long known that secret messages in the form of quilt patterns were used by slaves who were escaping to freedom during the American Civil War. These quilt patterns were a form of written language since it was illegal to teach slaves to read or write. The quilt patterns gave messages to slaves who were preparing to escape. The quilts would be hung out on clotheslines or porch rails and slave owners did not suspect this kind of communication was going on since people typically put out their bedding to be “aired out” during the day. The quilt patterns included common pictures such as a wagon wheel, a star, a crossroads, and a log cabin, etc.

Using these quilt patterns for direction many people found their way to freedom in the north. Truth was marching on. During Black History month we look back on the many ways African American people overcame oppression and worked for social justice. How sad that people were treated this way: enslaved to a life of cruel labor, being regarded as property, and being denied education and an opportunity for advancement. We shake our heads at that generation and say this was terrible and glad that things are better now.

Things are not better now. Human trafficking still exists. People still discriminate against one another for a huge laundry list of reasons. People treat one another inhumanely in order to obtain or maintain power, money and privilege. People live in fear and not in faith. But the good news is that with God truth is marching on. Every place where there are shackles and injustice God sees and God is using God’s people to do something about it. You are either part of the problem or part of the solution. It takes courage to speak out for justice. Do it anyway.

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