Piecing Together History: Civil Rights Quilts by Yvonne Wells
July 27 through August 25, 2013
Sparking a radical cultural shift, various events in the early 1960s including the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Selma to Montgomery March to Freedom, and the bombing of Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church brought the nation to attention and laid the groundwork for landmark Civil Rights legislation. Montgomery and Alabama were at the center of many of these events. Fifty years later, to commemorate the journey out of those difficult days and into the future, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts presented Piecing Together History: Civil Rights Quilts by Yvonne Wells.
A Tuscaloosa, Alabama native, Yvonne Wells (American, born 1940) witnessed firsthand many of the struggles involved in the Civil Rights Movement. Her signature story quilts serve to illuminate many difficult moments from the era including the bombing of the church in Birmingham that killed four little girls, George Wallace standing in the schoolhouse door in an attempt to stop integration at the University of Alabama, and the violence that cost forty individuals their lives. However, Wells does not focus solely on the struggles, she also depicts the joyous celebrations and hopeful changes that time has brought while honoring some of the heroes of the movement including Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. As she has said, “Everything I create is like a story, a record of history to benefit people in the future.”
Yvonne Wells (American, born 1939), Rosa Parks I, 2005, cotton/ polyester blend, polyester, cotton, plastic buttons, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts Association Purchase, 2008.9.6.