Living History…Black History Month 2017 Telling the Story of the Secret Codes of the Underground Railroad

By Carla Bass/Staff Writer and Photographer
pleasant-hill-quiltersThe Pleasant Hill Quilters of Linden, Texas, brought their skills and their story to share with the Jefferson Junior High School and visiting students from the Karnack School District. They came courtesy of the Jesse Allen Wise Garden Club and will again be in town to share their story during the Jefferson Pilgrimage.


Each of these ladies meet weekly at one of the Rosenwald Schools, which is one of the only school buildings still in existence in Cass County. The schools were built for black students in the early 1920’s. Their quilt work and presentations are used to finance the restoration and maintenance of the nearly century old building. The ladies were, with the exception of one or two, former school teachers; each telling their part and bringing the story to life dressed in period costumes of calico and sunbonnets, depicting the dress of the times. Their mission is to maintain the historical school building, now called the Pleasant Hill Center located at 2722 FM 1399 in Linden.



The purpose now of the use of the quilts is to entertain, educate, create awareness, and healing of America’s unsavory past.




Their presentation recounts the travels of the escaped slaves based on the history Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. It is based on the book, Hidden in Plain View: Secret Codes of the Underground Railroad by Jacqueline L. Tobin and Raymond G. Dobard (2011) During that time period, when there were no ways of communication as there are today, one of the ways they communicated to the runaways where food, water, shelter, clothing, and transportation could be found, was through the use of different quilt patterns. Safe houses would set the quilts out on the fence or window sill to air in the sunshine.


Today they had one of their…

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