I have moved to a Research & Preservation Center for our
Plantation Quilts &
UGRR Quilt Code Collections
Documented * Cleaned * Researched * Preserved
McCormick Train Depot
201 South Main Street * McCormick, SC 29835
It has been on the
National Register of Historic Places
WE'D LOVE TO HEAR
FROM YOU ABOUT OUR RESEARCH PAGE.
IF YOU HAVE INFORMATION
FOR US TO REVIEW OR
IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT
Please get in touch with me
CONGRATS TO MEGAN!
WHO'S THESIS WAS JUST ACCEPTED AT HARVARD!
We assisted her by participating in her survey about a
museum's role with diverse economic and/or homeless populations.
She has only started to scratch the surface on what
can/will be done to further the museum work with
economically diverse audiences.
Her intent was to showcase multiple access points
of engagement so that museums might find a model
or idea that could fit for their institution.
Congrats to Emma Baumgardner !
Iowa 6th grader who won her Eddiesville, Iowa
Elementary School & City History Fair
She went on to Des Moines, Iowa to compete
as the youngest competitor in the State's National History Competition!
She is on to her Success!
Parents, Kids & Educators:
We now have the "Kids Place Page" &
Nine year old, Jamel Thomas-Joyce's Author Page
where I moved the UGRR Info & Kids Games
We currently have students doing projects at
Harvard, GA State & GA Tech.
Researchers in America, Africa and the UK we've
shared documents & photos with for their research,
Links to Kids sights on National Park Service,
www.PBSKids.org & National Geographic Kids
What is now called
the "UGRR Secret Quilt Code"
was copyrighted in 1950 by my family &
again in 1998 by my late mother,
Serena Strother Wilson & I.
I own our family story and all rights
to the images as it relates to quilt patterns
used as maps and messages on the UGRR.
Click on the Link below
for more information on slaves being hired out
to American businesses and plantations
Slavery at South Carolina College, 1801–1865:
Hired slaves performed all kinds of labor:
women worked domestic jobs such as laundering
and wet-nursing, while men labored
on roads, canals, and railroads.
Others worked in industries such as mining coal,
smelting iron, and processing tobacco.
Skilled slaves might work as carpenters or blacksmiths.
The number of hired slaves and the variety
of jobs reflected not only the flexibility of slavery
but also the importance of slaves as
capital for owners and hirers.
I will be adding information
weekly until we get all
document links and photos restored.
Much of the oral history I have been
told over the years, at times, was hard to prove.
My mother did not live to hear that the Rio de Janeiro
Cais do Valongo slave trading complex
and Slave Port has been unearthed that was covered up in 1844!
"This woodcut was originally published in The Liberator,
the American abolitionist newspaper,
7 January 1832 (vol. 11, p. 2) to accompany
a brief article on Brazil.
The article describes how sickly enslaved Africans
were thrown overboard alive in the port of Rio
so that slave captains, knowing they could
not be sold, would avoid paying import duties on them."
To read more background on colonial
Slavery in Brazil 1600-1700's
(click photo below)
African slaves taken to Brazil Slave port to cut mortality rate.
Artifacts recovered show African people lived,
were enslaved, transported
and were taken by ship to Rio de Janeiro Brazil.
Once there were sold if they survived and
went to work on plantations or in mines.
Recent links to topic on Historic
Slavery in Brazil South America
Slave port intentionally covered in
1844 now being excavated!
Slave Graves found in Rio de Janeiro Brazil
The bones of the enslaved African people, the ones
that did not live, were
recovered from mass graves to be honored.
(Click below for full story)
Brazilian Slave Port Ruins
Unearthed in Rio's Olympic Facelift
I have put some of the
FAQ's here until we bring up the
new Frequently Asked Questions page
Q: Are there any other textiles reported to have
assisted in slave escapes still in existance?
A: My family is not the only
one to have used textiles as a method
of slave escapes.
(Below) Patch Crazy Quilt has African Vai language symbols
and characters and was reported
to be used on the American UGRR.
Our family's story was made
known by the release of the book
Buy your copy today as a gift for a
historian,a quilter, or your local library.
click on the book below
"Hidden In Plain View"
My great aunt Ozella McDaniels Williams
gave three interviews to co-author Dr. Jackie Tobin from which the book was written.
"Slave Rug" pictured above
I was contacted in 2006 by the parent
of these individuals . She sent me over
50 photos, letters and appraisements.
She had reached out to many
historians, organizations & institutions to no avail,
before contacting my mother & me.
It took several patrons who came to the
UGRR Secret Quilt Code Museum
to show me land references
they recognized from seeing the photos.
One man worked for the telephone
company in Alabama and Mississippi.
He said her photos of the "Slave Rug"
contained the same
topical image maps he'd used in
installing, locating & repairing phone lines!
I was excited to hear this.
I was looking at the states of AL & MS.
(If you put you hands together and
open them palms up. You'll see
the same twin relationship AL & MS share.)
They are mirror images of one another!
Patrons knew intimate details about
the photos I displayed in the
UGRR SQC Museum exhibit
(when it was located in
Underground Atlanta 2005- 2007 in
downtown Atlanta, GA)
Q: How could Peter Farrow
travel to preach the Word of God since
the Africans were pagen
when stolen away and taken to
America as slaves?
A: African people were not pagen and
my families ancestors Igbo tribes
were declared Jews in 2007.
Our family did not say they were Jews but
they said they were "Children of God".
We have a Shakeree see the Star of David
burned into each gourd bottom.
(which is a African musical instrument)
Fashioned in gourd and woven
basket reeds on which they burned the
Star of David on its bottom.
(Below) West African textile
with multi-colored Hebrew appliqued symbols on the woven top. It is several panels hand stitched in raffia psalm and hand dyed with natural pigment.
Can You Read The Symbols
On This Textile Below?
130 + Patrons of our exhibits and historic
presentations have correctly
read the symbols on this textile.
If you can read the characters on the
textile above contact me at
tribes in Africa also wrote (intricate cuts) on their skin
On rocks (monilths) and cave walls
(Below left) is the historic Kente strip textile &
(Right) Is what is now called the Rails or
Linking Logs American Quilt Pattern
LEROI & BERTHA COUBAGY's
"Language of Kente" Exhibit was at the
UGRR Secret Quilt Code Museum.
She also taught the docents & patrons historical
meanings of the patterns and the Kente language
that is universally understood and still spoken.
Other forms of textile patterns that contain language or messages are
Indigo dye have been written about
since biblical times.
Who could make the dye, fine linens and where the colors were worn are also
found in the biblical scriptures.
City of Shushan (biblical city where blue was worn)
The isles of Elishah (biblical isles where blue was worn)
Elishah (Means God is salvation), the eldest son of Javan.
1 Chronicles 1:7
And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and
Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim.
The residence of his descendants is described in
(Ezekiel 27:7) as the isles of Elishah, Elishah’s
descendants populated Peloponnesus, Greece.
Indigo spectrum of colors were
produced / grown in Asia
Africa and India. African slaves brought Indigo to
America in the 1700's.
Flordia, GA & SC climates afforded 3 harvest a year.
(American Indigo plants below)
Use of intracate sewing dying and stamping methods
abound in our African Collections of textiles
Close up view
The production of the Blue (indigo) color has
been saught after for centuries.
I looked up Hillazon gland from this animal made the blue dye
used by the ancient Israel to produce the tekhelet dye used for
the tztzith (fringes) of Jewish garments.
Here is a time line I found
Prepared by Mois A. Navon
that was informative but did not include Africa.
It discusses the search for the blue color and industries
that popped up from Isreal, Egypt,
to Mediterranean and Rome.
French zoologist Henri de Lacaze -Duthiers
discovered three dye-producing snails in the
Mediterranean: Murex brandaris, Murex trunculus and Thais haemastoma (pictured: left to right)
Much of the trade routes from east to west were for knowledge, gold,
spices, textiles and this blue and purple colors.
West African enslaved people brought the indigo
production to the American and southen indigo
plantations began to pop up.
Part of an Indigo processing vat still stands from 1700's in SC.
Sketched scenes from American Indigo
plantation processing (below)
Drawing of indigo planta in South Carolina
1740's - 1770 Indigo Cultivation was
British Florida's main cash crop.
(Click on text link below for full article)
Life at Governor James Grant's Villa Plantation
Even to this day many Nigerian Jewish practices
are still in line with the commands given in the Torah.
Even with the loss of the written record, the Igbo people
have maintained the customs and
traditions of ancient Israel in an oral form.
A few of these customs still in practice are:
circumcision of sons on the eighth day of life,
separation of women during the menstrual cycle,
the prohibition of cross breading animals or plants,
the prohibition of un-kosher animals for consumption,
the celebration of Passover, Yom Kippur, Sukkoth
and Taharat Ha-Mishpakha
(Immersion in a mikvah for ritual impurity)
just to name a few. Similar to the Samaritans in Israel and
some Moroccan Jews certain Igbos,
believed to be descended from ancient Levites
due to their Levitical practices,
are distinguished within the community by
donning red head coverings, which only they can wear."
From The Igbo Benei Yisrael Jews of Nigeria
Copy written by the Ibo Benei-Yisrael Association July 8, 2005
(There are many more UGRR links on this page
below the Igbo research)
"As a child my mother was always told she was IGBO
(IBO, EBO)" she did not know what Igbo was or where
they were from see the small green block on
the map below to see where
the tribe was concentrated in West Africa.
Serena Strother Wilson (my mom)
did not know what that was until
she was in college.
We are still studying what it means.
After she has made 4 trips to Africa
and 35 years of research
documenting comparisons of our
families American cultural practices
versus Igbo Nigerian/
Dahomey culture and beliefs.
I have located documentation
that shows hundreds of thousan
ds of the Ibo (Igbo) people from
Nigeria were enslaved and
brought to Americas through
South America Louisiana,
South Carolina and Virginia's
slave ports for their knowledge
of indigo (blue dye used in blue jeans),
rice, cotton, sugar, fishing, sailing
and agricultural cultivations
well as sewing, weaving, medicines
black smithing and carpentry skills.
They did not die from malaria
(transmitted by mosquitoes) and
were particularly suited for hard
work in the low country NC,
SC, GA, LA coast, as well as,
VA tobacco, MS, AL, where many
races of people would die or
did not have the desired
knowledge nor adaptability to
work long hours in high humidity and heat.
Most European low country
plantation owners were absentee
owners allowing my family
ancestors to retain many
Africanisms due to limited
interaction with owners.
Here are links to information on the
Igbo Cultural Heritage Organizations
click on links below.
IGBO CULTURAL AND SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONS
Ibeku egwu asaa Projects
Igbo Union World Organization Photos
Igbo Union Atlanta
IGBO CULTURAL AND SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONS
Here are some of many of the links
I will be adding in
support of the numbers of imported
It is my desire that my family will
come and visit to learn more about
the cultures from which
we are descendants.
West Africa had many ancient
this Nigerian Nsibidi is just one.
Photo of the British Museum's
Ceramic altar for the New Yam
On our South Carolina farm
in America our
family banked Sweet potatoes
also called "yams" and white
potatoes in the same customs
as the Ibo tribe banks their yams!
Igbo metal Art, Approximately
late 19th century AD
From Nigeria around the late
nineteenth and early twentieth
century, the Igbo people of
southern Nigeria made clay altars
or shrines with a number of figures. They also made elaborate textiles with
symbols and patterns now called the
UGRR Quilt Code
These symbolic patterns were also displayed
on the faces and in the skin of the
tribes people and not just in textiles.
Kuba woman with designs done in scarification on her back.
The main crop of the Igbo was yam,
and these altars were used at the
new yam harvest festival to
help produce good harvests and to
emphasize the importance of
the family in Igbo society.
Below this example consists of a
central male chief holding a
drinking-horn in his left
hand and a fan in his right,
both signs of his status.
Either side of him are
two pregnant women,
probably his wives, with elaborate
hairstyles and scarification
and holding fans.
Seated in front is a servant or
child with a fowl, possibly a
sacrifice for the yam deity, Ifejioku.
In this region, as in most of
Sub-Saharan Africa, the potters are women.
Normally only men are permitted
to make representational
and naturalistic figures.
However, the creator of this
piece was probably a
who was perceived by
society as having relinquished
her female status.
T. Phillips (ed.), Africa, The Art of a
Continent (London, Royal Academy, 1995)
To read the entire review click on
Equiano the African: Biography of a
Self-Made Man. Athens:
University of Georgia Press, 2
005. xxviii + 436 pp. ISBN 978-0-8203-2571-2.
Reviewed by Douglas Chambers
(Department of History,
University of Southern Mississippi)
Published on H-Atlantic (November, 2007)
"Almost an Englishman": Carretta's Equiano
Click on this link below to read
about African - Igbo
resistance to slavery in America
Murder at Montpieler
Igbo Africans in Virginia
Many people were claiming that
slaves in the South could not get married!
Q: How could Peter & Eliza get married
when it was against the law for slave in the
South to be married?
A: Here is an article I found about a
slave couple who escaped a
GA plantation and they are
advertising for their return:
TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS' REWARD—
Absented from the plantation of J
ames Moore, last, a Negro Wench,
named CELIA, and on the 11th January following,
a Negro man, named JACK,
both belonging to the estate
of Mrs. Martha Powell, deceased.
Fifty dollar's reward will be given
for the apprehension of each or
either of said Negroes on
delivery to one of the subscribers
and all reasonable expenses paid.
As it is believed said Negroes
have been inveigled or
stolen from the premises aforesaid,
further proof to conviction of the offender.
Celia is about thirty-five years
of age, African born, speaks rather bad English,
in a very peculiar manner;
but is otherwise smart and shrewd.
On being spoken to, she has the
singular habit of throwing
up her head with a disdainful air.
Jack, her husband, between
forty and forty-five years of age,
about five feet eight inches high,
steady and sedate in his manners,
one upper tooth lost and some country marks.
Both of said Negroes, it is believed,
are branded on the breast with the letter M.
LEIGHTON WILSON JAMES MOORE
Executors on estate
Mrs. Powell Glynn County,
February 7, 1819—-17
Note: They were married, African born with
tribal facial markings and had been branded!
My ancestors Peter & Eliza were also in
Glynn County, GA enslaved on a plantation
and believed in marriage
which is a religious covenant.
Here is a link to the Freemans Bureau
Marriage Records or as my aunts would
have said "Jumpin the Broom" stuff.
It is important we remember the
13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:
Abolition of Slavery (1865)
"Passed by Congress on
January 31, 1865 and ratified
on December 6, 1865, the 13th
slavery in the United States.
The 13th amendment, which formally
abolished slavery in the US,
passed the Senate on
April 8, 1864, and the
House on January 31, 1865.
On February 1, 1865,
President Abraham Lincoln approved
the Joint Resolution of Congress
submitting the proposed
amendment to the state legislatures.
In 1863, President Lincoln had issued the
Emancipation Proclamation declaring
“all persons held as slaves within any
State, or designated part of a
State, the people whereof shall then
be in rebellion against the
United States, shall be then,
thenceforward, and forever free.”
the Emancipation Proclamation
did not end slavery in the nation.
Lincoln recognized that the
Emancipation Proclamation would
have to be followed by a
in order to guarantee
the abolishment of slavery.
The 13th amendment was
passed at the end of the Civil War
before the Southern states had
been restored to the Union and
should have easily passed the Congress.
Although the Senate passed it in
April 1864, the House didn't.
At that point, Lincoln took an
active role to ensure
passage through congress.
He insisted that passage of the
13th amendment be added
to the Republican Party platform for the
upcoming Presidential elections.
His efforts met with success
when the House passed
the bill in January 1865 with
a vote of 119–56.
With the adoption of the 13th
amendment, the United States
found a final constitutional
solution to the issue of slavery.
The 13th amendment, along
with the 14th and 15th, is one
of the trio of Civil War
amendments that greatly
expanded the civil rights of Americans."
Links to Related
Link to Owen Sound Canada
and the Freedom Trail Points.
They feature information on e
scaped slaves who used the
Underground Railroad to get to Canada.
Peru apologises for abuse of African-origin citizens
Their ancestors were brought as slaves
to the region by Spanish colonisers.
Peru has apologised for the first time
to its citizens of African origin for
centuries of "abuse, exclusion and discrimination".
A public ceremony was held to
apologise to African-Peruvians,
who make up 5-10% of the population.
Read entire article
Religion Slavery and Abolitioist
"In the slave quarters, however,
African Americans organized
their own "invisible institution."
Through signals, passwords
and messages not discernible to whites.
They called believers to "hush harbors"
where they freely mixed African rhythms,
singing, and beliefs with
It was here that the spirituals,
with their double meanings of religious
salvation and freedom from slavery,
developed and flourished; and
here, too, that black preachers,
those who believed that God had
called them to speak his Word,
polished their "chanted sermons," or
rhythmic, intoned style of
Part church, part psychological
refuge, and part organizing point for
occasional acts of outright rebellion
(Nat Turner, whose armed
insurrection in Virginia in 1831
resulted in the deaths of scores
of white men, women, and children,
was a self-styled Baptist preacher).
These meetings provided
one of the few ways for
enslaved African Americans to express and
enact their hopes for a better future.
Nanny Jamaican Abolitionist
Click her image for link to
information on her Winward Maroons
Visit A new link to Mary Livermore
- Chicago Abolitionist
Philadelphia Abolitionist Society
Kenucky UGRR Station
I ran into a UGRR friend in Columbus, Oh
on a research field trip.
He promised he would send me photos of his daughter's building
used on the UGRR in Kentucky!
We will continue adding
the abolitionist until we
Scottish in slavery
(note old English spellings)
"According to the Egerton manuscript,
British Museum, the
enactment of 1652: it may be lawful
for two or more justices
of the peace within any county,
city or towne,
corporate belonging to the
commonwealth to from tyme to tyme
by warrant cause to be apprehended,
seized on and detained all
and every person or persons that
shall be found begging and
vagrant.. in any towne, parish or place
to be conveyed into the
Port of London, or unto any other
port from where such person
or persons may be shipped into a
forraign collonie or plantation.
The judges of Edinburgh Scotland
during the years 1662-1665
ordered the enslavement and
shipment to the colonies a large
number of rogues and others who
made life unpleasant for the
British upper class.
(Register for the Privy Council of Scotland,
third series, vol. 1, p 181, vol. 2, p 101).
The above accounting sounds horrific
but slavery was what the
Scotts have survived for a thousand years .
The early ancestors of the Scotts, Alba and
Pics were enslaved as early as the first
century BC. Varro, a Roman philosopher
stated in his agricultural manuscripts that
white slaves were only things with a
voice or instrumenti vocali.
Julius Caesar enslaves as many as one
million whites from Gaul. (
William D Phillips, Jr.
SLAVERY FROM ROMAN TIMES TO
EARLY TRANSATLANTIC TRADE , p. 18)."
Irish enslaved in the Americas and Europe
It is well documented that the Irish were
enslaved in the Americas and often masters
had both African and Irish slaves.
Many guest did not know Irish people were also slaves
here in the Americas and in Europe also 1600's to 1800's.
Not indentured only many more
were auctioned, families
separated, slaves for life and often
worked to death!
Guest signed our visitors journal
books and toured our
exhibits about worldwide slavery.
Though I do not agree with everything
on these links they do have some
good information and the main point is to
get you to discover other view points
and research other cultures.
An excert from Race & History.com
"The Proclamation of 1625 ordered
that Irish political prisoners
be transported overseas and sold as
laborers to English planters,
who were settling the islands of
the West Indies, officially
establishing a policy that was to
continue for two centuries.
In 1629 a large group of Irish men and women
were sent to Guiana, and by 1632, Irish were
the main slaves sold to Antigua and
Montserrat in the West Indies.
By 1637, a census showed that
69% of the total population of
Montserrat were Irish slaves,
which records show was a cause
of concern to the English planters.
But there were not enough
political prisoners to supply the demand, so every petty
infraction carried a sentence of transporting, and slaver gangs
combed the country sides to
kidnap enough people to fill out their quotas:
Although African Negroes were better suited to work in the
semi-tropical climates of the Caribbean,
they had to be purchased, while the Irish were free for
the catching, so to speak.
It is not surprising that Ireland became the biggest source of
livestock for the English slave trade.
Anti-Slavery Books, Newspapers & Societies Information
American Anti-Slavery Society's Constitution
Where the text can be found:
William MacDonald's Documentary
Source Book of American History
(New York: Burt Franklin), pp. 304-305.
Platform of the American
Anti-Slavery Society and its Auxiliaries
(New York, 1855), pp. 3-4.
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