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Stitching Portland’s Black History: Virtual Exhibit

October 18-November 1

The story of a quilt and the incredible women who created it.

For the first time in 23 years, the Afro-American Heritage Bicentennial Commemorative Quilt was on display at the Oregon Historical Society. Unfortunately the exhibit had to close prematurely after the quilt sustained damage after being forcibly removed. This virtual exhibit aims to to continue to honor and preserve the legacy of the Afro-American Heritage Bicentennial Commemorative Quilt which was conceived and created by 15 pioneering African-American women in Portland and completed at the time of the Bicentennial in 1976 to celebrate Black history in America.

Displaying this quilt, a valued part of the OHS collection, during Portland Textile Month emphasizes its political and cultural importance, both historical and present. It highlights (1) the important contributions of African-Americans during 200 years of American history, (2) the pride expressed by the quilters in America as a diverse nation, and (3) the significant contributions of the quilters to the city of Portland despite decades of racial discrimination. The quilt shows the decades-long efforts by Portland’s African-American community to address racial discrimination and the injustice it causes.

The 30 blocks in the quilt each represent an event, individual, or group of importance to Black history in America. A copy of the original pamphlet that describes the stories in each block will be on display with the quilt.

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