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Archive for Monday, December 10, 2001

Quilts detail artist’s connection to slavery

December 10, 2001

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Each of Marla Jackson's quilts tells a story.

Some of the stories are personal, such as the birth of her first son, or a conflict with her mother. Other quilts represent the stories of her great-grandmother, Lucille Crum, a former slave.

Local artist Marla Jackson shares the inspirations that led her to
make quilts depicting black history. Jackson talked Sunday at the
Watkins Community Museum of History before members of the Douglas
County Underground Railroad Assn. She said she drew some of the
themes for her quilts from conversations she had with her
great-grandmother, who was a slave in the South before the Civil
War.

Local artist Marla Jackson shares the inspirations that led her to make quilts depicting black history. Jackson talked Sunday at the Watkins Community Museum of History before members of the Douglas County Underground Railroad Assn. She said she drew some of the themes for her quilts from conversations she had with her great-grandmother, who was a slave in the South before the Civil War.

On Sunday afternoon, Jackson told the Douglas County Underground Railroad Assn. the story of each of her quilts and her plans for the future. Jackson would like to make a quilt of one of the most famous "conductors" on the Underground Railroad, Harriet Tubman, but with a modern twist.

Jackson plans to depict Tubman in a business suit with a briefcase.

"She's going to be putting America on trial," she said.

Jackson's quilts will be on display at Watkins Community Museum of History through Thursday. Although she doesn't plan to sell any of the eight quilts in the collection, "Truth of Soul," her husband, Donald, took photographs of the quilts and made notecards, which are available at The Casbah, 803 Mass.


Douglas County's Underground Railroad Assn. meets on the second Sunday every month at the Lawrence Public Library gallery. The public is welcome. Contact president Tolly Wildcat at 842-3154 for more information.
Other stories on quilts at www.ljworld.com/section/arts/story/71406

Mayre Hoffman attended the talk Sunday and was impressed with Jackson's work.

"They're not only visually appealing they're powerful in the presentation of each of their tales," she said.

Just as Jackson is recording her familial history in her quilts, the Underground Railroad Assn. is working to document Douglas County's history with the "railroad," which ferried slaves from southern states to freedom.

The group has identified 34 homesteads in Douglas County that served as railroad stops, although about half now lie beneath Clinton Lake. The association is working to document the remaining sites and educate the community.

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