Since the early 19th century, the women of Gee’s Bend in southern Alabama have created stunning, vibrant quilts. Award-winning author Susan Goldman Rubin’s The Quilts of Gee’s Bend explores the history and culture of this fascinating group of women and their unique quilting traditions, using meticulous research to offer an exclusive look at an important facet of African American art and culture.
In the rural community of Gee’s Bend, African American women have been making quilts for generations. They use scraps of old overalls, aprons, and bleached cornmeal sacks—anything they can find. Their traditions have been passed down through the decades. Much to the women’s surprise, a selection of the quilts was featured in an exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in 2002. The exhibition then traveled to the Whitney Museum in New York City. “Eye-poppingly gorgeous,” wrote a critic for the New York Times about the exhibition. He continued, “Some of the most miraculous works of modern art America has produced.”
Rubin is known for producing well-researched, highly praised, and sophisticated biographies of artists and other important figures. Through similar research, The Quilts of Gee’s Bend shares specifics about this rare community and its rich traditions, allowing children to pause to consider history through the eyes of the people who lived it and through a legacy that is passed on to the next generation.
This book should be of great interest to classrooms, libraries, and those interested in African American art in the United States, in addition to quilting, life in early emancipated colonies in the South, and Gee’s Bends importance in the Civil Rights movement. The quilts and the incredible stories behind them are powerful motivators for anyone who wishes to accomplish anything. A map, directions on how to make a quilt square, endnotes, and an index round out this stunning nonfiction book.
"A handsome volume to enchant a new generation of readers and artists."
"Writing with awareness of broad social forces as they affected the residents of Gee’s Bend, Rubin offers a concise account of local history while seamlessly weaving quilters’ reminiscences of family, community, poverty, and memorable events into an informative narrative. . . A colorful introduction to a uniquely American subject."
"A celebration of fellowship and ingenuity...Rubin traces the quilters’ history alongside their struggle for civil rights and a steadily improving quality of life."Publishers Weekly
"Lush photographs of people and places accompany the text; especially beautiful are the many picturesThe Horn Book
of quilts, ranging from the modest and plain to the boldly colorful."
"...the vibrant quilts and their proud creators are beautifully photographed, and the text is free of any trace of condescension that often accompanies discussion of folk art."Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books