Michigan Quilt Project
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The Cuesta Benberry Quilt and Ephemera Collection


Joseph's Coat of Many Colors
Freedom Quilting Bee
Gee's Bend, Alabama
1980
38" x 55"
Cotton
MSU Museum Accession 2008:119.6, Gift of George Benberry
Photo by Pearl Yee Wong, all rights reserved by MSU Museum

The quilters of rural Gee’s Bend, Alabama first received national attention during the 1960s when they were a part of the Freedom Quilting Bee, a cooperative that sold quilts through outlets that included Bloomingdales and Sears. It was not until 2002, when the quilts were packaged into the exhibition The Quilts of Gee’s Bend and vigorously promoted in the media, that interest in these quilts skyrocketed. Although other exhibitions had exhibited quilts as art and simultaneously revealed the stories of the people and communities who made them, The Quilts of Gee’s Bend exhibition is credited with bringing this way of displaying and interpreting quilts to the attention of art and media critics.

By Mary Worrall, from the exhibit Unpacking Collections: the Legacy of Cuesta Benberry, An African American Quilt Scholar




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