Quilted signs to freedom

Excerpt from The Vallejo Times-Herald, February 26, 2006
By Richard Freeman

Students from Pennycook Elementary School learned Thursday that “Flying Geese” “Wagon Wheel,” “Tumbling Blocks,” “Log Cabin,” and “Bear Claw” werewas more than just patterns on quilts.

For thousands of slaves bound for the North, those designs meantit was a way out.

In a one-hour presentation by the Vallejo Piecemakers Quilt Club at Springstowne Public Library, 25 randomly chosen third-, fourth- and fifth-graders studentskids from the were told how the designs and the quilts served as guideposts along the famed Underground Railroad.

One pattern may have pointed to a specific direction, one may have indicated whether the house the quilt was hanging up near was safe for the escaping slave. A black square meant the house wasn’t safe, a red square meant it was OK…

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