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Catalog Data

Created by:
Jessie Bell Williams Telfair, American, 1913 - 1986  Search this
H x W: 73 × 87 in. (185.4 × 221 cm)
Place made:
Parrott, Terrell County, Georgia, United States, North and Central America
ca. 1975
Quilter Jessie Telfair was inspired to make this quilt in the mid-1970’s as an expression and memorialization of her experiences during the Civil Rights Movement. In the 1960s, Telfair was encouraged by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee’s efforts to register African American voters in Southwest Georgia. Telfair decided to register to vote. When her employers learned of her actions, they fired her from her job as a cafeteria worker at an elementary school in her small community of Parrott, Georgia. The quilt is an affirmation of her personal freedom as well as a statement about the freedoms guaranteed to all American citizens. Telfair later made two more quilts of nearly identical design, one is in the collection of the American Folk Art Museum in New York and the other is at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.
A pieced and appliqued cotton quilt designed and quilted by Jessie Telfair. The quilt consists of bold blue block letters on red squares, arranged to spell the word [FREEDOM] along a horizontal axis, repeated in six rows. Smaller white square blocks separate the red squares. The backing is white.
African American  Search this
American South  Search this
Art  Search this
Civil Rights  Search this
Craftsmanship  Search this
Design  Search this
Folklife  Search this
Freedom  Search this
Resistance  Search this
Rural life  Search this
Suffrage  Search this
Textile design  Search this
Credit Line:
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Virginia Dwan
Object number:
Restrictions & Rights:
No Known Copyright Restrictions
Proper usage is the responsibility of the user.
See more items in:
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Decorative Arts, Craft, and Design
Cultural Expressions
On View:
NMAAHC (1400 Constitution Ave NW), National Mall Location, Culture/Fourth Floor, 4 050
Data Source:
National Museum of African American History and Culture