Blocks and strips work-clothes quilt

Lucy Mingo1959

Souls Grown Deep

Souls Grown Deep
Atlanta, United States

Lucy Mingo has always preferred to use old, discarded clothes and subdued colors in her quilts. She recently said, “I want a little color to it, but not too much. . . . you have to keep it toned down. . . . I made this old block quilt out of pants and shirt tops, and scraps from the shirt factory in Linden"

Descending from several generations of quiltmakers, Lucy Mingo became one of Gee’s Bend’s leading spokespersons during the civil rights era.

"After Dr. King came down, we marched and went to Camden, and we became registered voters. And then things changed. You could ask for a job when you were a registered voter.

The civil rights, well, it wasn’t what I thought it was. Sometimes people said, 'Let’s go,' and when you got there, you didn’t know people was going to be active like they was going to be. The first movement I went to was with Nancy Brown in Camden at the gas company. And we got down on our knees, and she began to pray. And then I see everybody closing up the stores, and she said, 'Don’t y’all run and don’t y’all move.' And I stayed in the movement. But I didn’t get in jail. When I see people getting in jail, I stay back because I have children. Civil rights took a long time. It didn’t happen overnight. I marched in Montgomery and over the Pettus Bridge, but I wasn’t in the one with John Lewis. Some people went to jail, but they didn’t let the old people stay in there overnight. My son Eugene, he stay in jail for a week one time. School kids did. Peoples want to become registered voters. That was our main priority. After that, things got better. You could get a good job. Didn’t pay much, but it was okay.

"Quilting in my family went way back because my mama’s mama was a quilter. My mama taught me how to make quilts, but I got my quilting on my own. I could look at things and see how it was done and do it myself. My mother, you know, they go house to house. I think it was ten of them. They quilt four and five quilts a day, helping people. They didn’t quilt like we did. They quilt them little bitty rows, about the size of my finger, with that old thread."


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