The Quilts of Gee’s Bend by Susan Goldman Rubin

Published by Harry N. Abrams

Summary:  In 1845, plantation owner Mark Pettway moved his plantation to Gee’s Bend Alabama.  When the Civil War ended, the former slaves from that plantation stayed and formed a community that still exists today.  The women of Gee’s Bend have made quilts for generations, primarily to keep warm in the drafty cabins they lived in on the plantation, but also as a form of creative expression.  The history of this community and their quilts includes a visit from Martin Luther King, Jr. and participation by many in the Civil Rights movement.  The quilts were “discovered” in the 1960’s, and the women formed a collective that for a few years produced items to be sold in Bloomingdales and Saks Fifth Avenue.  In 2002, art collector Bill Arnett helped organize a quilt exhibit at New York City’s Whitney Museum, attracting record-breaking crowds.  The acclaim has helped the women to see their work as an art form that reflects the history of their unique community.  Includes instructions for making a quilt square, bibliography, and index.  56 pages; grades 5-8.

Pros:  The story is fascinating, but the real attraction of this book is the gorgeous full-page color photos of the quilts.

Cons:  The photo on page 8 appears to have been mislabeled with the wrong date.

One thought on “The Quilts of Gee’s Bend by Susan Goldman Rubin

  1. Wow those quilts are stunning! There is a picture book set there in Gee’s Bend which we read as part of a quick study of MLK (Belle, the Last Mule at Gee’s Bend). It’s been a while since we’ve read it and it’s below what I’d normally get for my son now but I think he’ll enjoy the book you’ve reviewed more if his memory is refreshed. Both are on his later shelf!


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