Slave Quilts: Background information when reading The Invention of Wings

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The Invention of Wings

by Sue Monk Kidd

The Invention of Wings
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2014, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2015, 384 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Judi Sauerbrey

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Slave Quilts

Among the many unifying symbols in all the intertwining relationships that course through The Invention of Wings, one of the most important concerns is not another person but a quilt.

"This a story quilt," Mauma Charlotte tells her daughter Handful. "My mauma made one and her mauma before her. All my kin in Africa...kept their history on a quilt." Later, as Handful stitches the appliquéd squares together, she begins to understand just how much of her mother – her earlier life in Africa, her experiences with slavery – is in the quilt. "Mauma had sewed where she came from, who she was, what she loved, the things she suffered, and the things she'd hoped. She'd found a way to tell it."

In her book, Stitched From the Soul: Slave Quilts From the Antebellum South, folklore historian Gladys-Marie Fry notes that for enslaved women, quilting was a survival mechanism, "...a type of emotional and social release that provided...the means by which they recorded and preserved ...

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