The Society of School Librarians

The Underground Railroad  Quilt

Ms. Daisy Bennett talked to us about the quilt code that was developed to help escaping slaves through their journey along the underground railroad. She illustrated her talk with a beautiful quilt that had examples of the patterns she discussed.

Ms. Daisy Bennett described the squares of an underground railroad quilt containing some of the patterns reported to be sewn by slaves to help escapees find their way.


Underground Railroad Quilt Picture and Symbol Legend

 When & Where to Leave

 Log Cabin: Represents a Safe Haven

 Bow TieTravel Method: SailboatPin Wheel: Entertain Children. Cover your Scent 
 Monkey Wrench: Take Tools Crossroads: One Half way Point. Go on or turn back Bow Tie: Dress to fit the Surroundings Drunken Path: Travel in a Zig-Zag Pattern

 Dresden Pattern: Safe



Light in Church Window

 Travel Method: Wagon

 Basket: Leave with Food covered with Flowers Shoefly: Scatter Birds in the Air: By the Seasons. North or South Nine Patch: Plant a Garden in the North
 Hung in the Direction to Go Bear's Paw: Follow the North Star Shoefly: Come Together Flying Geese: Follow the Arrows North Star