Springfield students create freedom quilt for Black History Month

  • Keisha Rowe
  • Staff Writer
2:13 p.m Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018 Local
Four students in the after school program at Lincoln Elementary prepare to turn around and reveal the Freedom Quilt that the students in the program made as part of Black History Month Monday. The students each made a square for the quilt but Monday was the first time they had seen it all put together. The quilt will be on display near the office at the school. Bill Lackey/Staff

Springfield City School District students have found a unique way to celebrate history.

Children enrolled in Lincoln Elementary School’s after-school program decided to celebrate the month of February, nationally recognized as Black History Month, by creating a freedom quilt honoring the Underground Railroad.

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The quilt was a project developed by Marilyn Gadd, the director of the Lincoln Promise Community Learning Center.

“We decided to do something unique that’s never been done before to explore the history of the Underground Railroad,” she said.

Gadd said she got the idea for the quilt thanks to her background as an art teacher.

“Through art education students learn a lot better, and this is a way that we could try to get them to understand the importance of history but in a fun and unique way,” she said.

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Each student was able to create their own patch for the quilt, providing the opportunity to find their own meaning in the impact the Underground Railroad had on black history.

Jae’Michael Edwards, a sixth-grader at Lincoln, said the quilt reminded him of the struggles African Americans suffered in the past.

“I’m glad it’s now over,” he said.

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Students who participated in the quilt’s creation also helped to dedicate it to the school during a ceremony Monday evening at Lincoln. Gadd said she hopes the quilt will bring joy, connection and unity to the community.

“It’s not just for us,” she said. “But it’s for the school and the community and to help bridge the gap to try and make things just a little bit better.”