Martin Luther King Jr. and Quilts

Today is the federal holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as well as the celebration of the inauguration of President Obama's second term.  It is such an important holidDrMartinLutherKingJray that I knew there had to be many examples out there of quilts for MLK.  I decided to google him and quilts and was happy to discover so many links.  It is even more meaningful because his life was cut short before the renaissance of quilting began.  Obviously, he has meant enough to people that they felt they had to express this feeling in a qmlkfaceuilt.

Some of the quilts of Dr. King are his face.  I get that, there are many people or events in my life that I have wanted to commemorate with a quilt and the variety of feelings you have boil down to one central image.  This quilt is amazingly lifelike, it has many of the characteristics of a photograph.  I think color choice shows a great deal of what you are trying to say about the quilt's subject as well.  Can there be any doubt what the statement is from this quilter who used a red, white and blue palette in her quilted homage to Dr. King?mlk1

Other quilters want to put a graphic or symbols in the quilt to make sure that the message is loud and clear.  I find the use of white space with the bold lettering very effective in this sewn tribute to the late civil rights leader.

There are activities involving quilts and Dr. King which occur all year but particularly around this time of year.  I would love to be with this woman when she got to attend an exhibition of quilts which honored MLK.  I am so happy I am a quilter, not only is it the best hobby in the world but you can express your feelings in a quilt and then have a work of art or useful object which results and often, both.mlk_quilt

Quilters are very giving people and one of my favorite examples of that occurs during this time of service.  At Dartmouth College there is a quilting marathon today for refugee relief.  People can stop in and give their time to help finish quilts which will be sent to Lutheran World Relief.  I can't think of a better way to use quilting to help the world and honor a man who tried to make it better for us all and so this picture might be my favorite Martin Luther King Jr. "quilt" of all.


Sew happy!

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    Kathy Mathews

    My passions are quilting and sewing. Add to that French, Spanish, books, swimming, travels, new restaurants, yoga and chocolate and you have me. All of these are best shared with family and friends. Except for chocolate, don't touch my chocolate. You can email me at

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