Part Eleven of the PP forum Block of the Month - Underground Railroad
Harriet Tubman herself, often and quite emphatically, urged runaway slaves to follow the signs to Canada and it is sometimes said that many of these escaped slaves had help from sympathetic quilters on their journey.
One quilt pattern that may have hung over a clothesline or may have been folded just so on a windowsill was that of the ‘Flying Geese’. This pattern was apparently displayed more in the Spring time identifying a path north matching that of the migration of the Canada geese. The real migrating geese could be used as a guide to find water, food or even a place to rest stopping at important watering holes and feeding ponds. With their loud honking noises, it was easy to follow the birds flight pattern.
Quilt makers had extensive flexibility in their patterns. There may have been up to 75 underground railroad sites exiting the south coming up through the States, it is possible that many quilts with this design would have displayed dozens of different coloured patterns
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