Ray & Angela

United States > > > with Loretta & Marlene in United States

I'd done very little quilting in the past and it had all been by machine. I wanted to learn hand quilting techniques. But my real motivation was to get to spend time with artists whose work is so original.

I learned that in addition to carrying on the quilting style of their ancestors, the women of Gee's Bend had been directly involved with the Civil Rights Movement. They organized the Freedom Quilting Bee, which was founded in 1966 with a donation from Dr. Martin Luther King, as a way to make a business and create more economic opportunities for women in the area. It's a fascinating story--and one that the current quilters are working to tell. My friend and I learned all this in conversations with Loretta and Marlene, as well as their colleagues around town.