The March Quilts Year 1— Selma to Montgomery March (2015)
Year 1: Selma to Montgomery March
In 2015, members of Bib & Tucker made blocks reflecting on their own responses to the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery marches and the making of the three other March Quilts. The center blocks made of small colorful squares represent stained glass windows because churches were an integral part of the Civil Rights Movement. These small squares also link the Members’ quilt to the other quilts made in the first year of the project.
The members’ quilt blocks were made by Rachel D. Bates, Annie Bryant, Alberteen Caver, Mopsy Foresee, Ann Griffin, Shirley Hamilton, Heather Hood, Mariam Jalloh, Mary Johnson, Nicole Jordan, Katie McDaniel, Jeraldine Oliver, Celeste Pfau, Gloria Purnell, Michelle Reynolds, and Lillis Taylor.
The Selma March Quilt is comprised of blocks stitched in Birmingham and Selma. The layout of blocks in this quilt is random, symbolizing the marchers as individuals, just beginning their journey. The background fabric colors were chosen to represent the environment that the marchers walked through: forest green, asphalt gray, sky blue, clay red, earth brown, and cloud white.
Bib and Tucker Sew-Op members drove to Selma on January 31, 2015 to facilitate a workshop with community members at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. We met foot soldiers who had marched on Bloody Sunday, Turnaround Tuesday, and the successful march that culminated in Montgomery on March 25, 1965. These women spoke of time spent in jail, away from their children and families. We sang together and we stitched together. During the 50th anniversary, this quilt was installed at Selma’s Public Library on Route 80, just a few blocks from the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
Like the other year one quilts, the background fabric colors were chosen to represent the environment that the marchers walked through, from the clouds and sky to the earth and asphalt. The layout of blocks in this quilt is known as a “9-patch.” It symbolizes the unity forged between the marchers as they made their way to Montgomery. The first Montgomery quilt is comprised of blocks stitched in Birmingham and Montgomery.
Bib & Tucker Sew-Op members drove to Montgomery on February 21, 2015 to facilitate a workshop with community participants at the Alabama Department of Archives. Famous photographs by “Spider” Martin were exhibited on the walls of the gallery where participants sewed which offered poignant imagery for reflection. One of the highlights of this day was a group of boys, ages five to seventeen, who were sewing for the first time.
Note: James “Spider” Martin (April 1, 1939 – April 8, 2003) was an Alabama-born photographer known for his work documenting the American Civil Rights Movement in 1965, specifically Bloody Sunday and other incidents from the Selma to Montgomery marches.