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Man Made: African-American Men and Quilting Traditions

Man Made: African-American Men and Quilting Traditions

January 18, 1998 – September 8, 1998

Location: Main Gallery

African American men have made significant contributions to quilting, an art form primarily associated with women. The exhibition highlights 42 quilts made by members of this least represented group among all American quiltmakers. The oldest quilt in the show dates to 1852, though most were made in the twentieth century. They include both utilitarian bed quilts and purely decorative, or “art quilts.” The quiltmakers range in age from nine-year old Herbert Munn to 105-year-old Benjamin Jackson. They hail from four regions of the United States: Atlantic seaboard, Midwest, south, and west. Artist-scholars in metropolitan Washington, DC also play key roles in the exhibition. Dr. Gladys-Marie Frye, Professor of English and Folklore at the University of Maryland, organized the exhibit. David Driskell, also of University of Maryland, and Howard University’s Raymond Dobard are both art professors with quilts in the exhibition. Additional quilters include Elroy Atkins, Paul Buford, Charles Carter, Thomas Covington, Benjamin Jackson, Dennis Jones, Thomas Mack, Jeff Martin, Herbert Munn, Charles Palmer, Joe Washington, and Warren Wise.

Burlap, Thomas Mack, 1997. Collection of the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum.