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Art+Letters: Hidden in Plain View

January 13, 2021 at 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM



Come take part in the Museum’s monthly reading group, Art+Letters, featuring works of art-historical fiction and nonfiction. All discussions take place online via Zoom and last about an hour. To join the discussion, follow the link below to register.

Hidden in Plain View

Jacqueline L. Tobin and Raymond S. Gobard, co-authors, demonstrate that symbols in quilts were in fact used to communicate information about the way to freedom, as long speculated, and share the story of this discovery. The discussion will be hosted by Amy Campbell from the Montgomery City-County Public Library.

Register for Art+Letters

Questions to Consider

  • Looking at the quilts solely as pieces of information: what can they tell us about who made them, what they were made for, how they were made, who they were made for?
  • Are there any other household items that we overlook that might hold hidden data? What might you consider a primary source that hasn’t been fully explored by historians? What about as a collection versus individual items?
  • What’s the best method of data storage? Written, visual, oral, digital? Why?
  • Why has there been such an emphasis in scholarship on the written word? Who does that favor?
  • Why didn’t Ozella McDaniel Williams give Tobin the whole story about the quilt code when she asked for it?
  • Consider Tobin’s tone when describing being chosen to impart Williams’ legacy. How does it make you feel? Does it feel accurate? Why do you think Tobin didn’t include direct quotes from Williams?
    What issues are there in white scholars interpreting black primary sources? What history is lost when only viewed through the white and/or male lens?
  • People have hidden messages in many different media almost from the beginning. What other media can you think of that has hidden or double meanings that someone from a different culture or perspective might miss?

This program is part of the series:



January 13, 2021
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
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