On this day in 1964, three civil rights workers were murdered by a Ku Klux Klan lynch mob near the town of Meridian, Mississippi. The murders of James Chaney, a 21-year-old black man from Meridian; Andrew Goodman, a 20-year-old white Jewish anthropology student from New York; and Michael Schwerner, a 24-year-old white Jewish CORE organizer and former social worker also from New York, demonstrated the dangers faced by civil rights workers in the South, especially during what became known as “Freedom Summer”, dedicated to voter education and registration.

April Shipp of Auburn Hills, Michigan made this quilt, titled “Strange Fruit” in 2003, which includes hundreds of names of victims of lynchings and their states, along with two rope nooses.

Shipp wrote, “Strange Fruit is named after a song by the late Billie Holiday, and it’s dedicated to Ida Bell Wells-Barnett, an African American Newspaper journalist born in 1862, who fought for an anti-lynching law…The textures represent their position in life, i.e. silk, cotton, and denim. In making this Quilt, I learned that it did not matter who you were. Just ask Detective Albert Parker (lynched 1868) or Reverend L.C. Baldwin (murdered 1956). It did not matter how old you were. Just ask Virgil Ware, age 13 (murdered 1963) or the 3 murdered children of Thomas Harris. It could happen to anyone, anywhere, and anytime. I did this Quilt in loving memory of my people, people I have never met, people whose names are not only woven into the fabric of this Quilt, but also into the fabric of my heart. This Quilt is truly a miracle!”

Shipp’s quilt was documented during the Michigan Quilt Project.

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to read more about it’s history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view.


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Amy Milne headshot

Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance

How To Trim Flying Geese Without A Specialty Ruler

If you don’t have a Bloc-Loc ruler, you may find trimming these flying geese challenging. But by following these steps, you should be able to get four accurate geese in each color!

First, line up your ruler so the point of the flying geese unit will be trimmed exactly ¼” above the point. Try to line the unit up as straight as possible on the other three sides.

Next, flip the unit over. Line up the edge you just cut on the 2” line of the ruler as shown below, and trim the excess from the top.

Flip the unit right side up again. Line the lower left corner up with the 3 ½” mark on your ruler as shown above. Trim the excess on the right.

Finally, flip the unit over again so the point is pointing towards the 2” line. Align the left edge of the unit with the 3 ½” ruler mark as shown above and trim the excess on the right. Your flying goose unit is now ready to be pieced into your block!

Quilt Documentation Tip

 Andrea’s block story is all about the importance of quilt guilds. Quilting can feel solitary, but guilds bring us together. It’s a topic of conversation that was discussed with two Birthday Block of the Month Designers in a recent Textile Talk where the participants all shared emotional stories about their love for their guilds. 

Did you know that your guild can document your quilts as a group? Consider hosting a quilt documentation day in your guild! Follow these instructions and have members share three minute stories about one meaningful quilt in the Quilt Alliance’s signature Go Tell It documentation program. You could even host a screening so all of your members can see the videos! Get in touch at: qsos@quiltalliance.org

See You in October for Month Seven!

Thank you so much to everyone who has participated in the Quilt Alliance’s Birthday Block of the Month so far! Our designer for next month, the seventh block we’re making together, is Bonnie Hunter herself! 

Be sure to tag @quiltalliance and @3rdstoryworkshop on Instagram with your block photos this month, and use the hashtag #QuiltAllianceBOM. And leave any questions about this month’s block in the comments below!


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