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“Pre-Civil War Quilts: Secret Code to Freedom” Featured in Tiskilwa Program on Monday, March 9

As a little girl, Connie Boswell [Martin] was fascinated with her mother’s stories of their family’s heritage and details of her ancestors’ long road to freedom. Beginning at 7:00 p.m. Monday evening, March 9, at Tiskilwa’s Museum on Main, Connie will share the significance of quilt patterns with special stitching as secret messages to slaves escaping on the Underground Railroad.

Connie’s multi-media presentation is based on extensive Underground Railroad research to go along with detailed, generation-to-generation stories, and even personal items preserved in a family Bible. Longtime historical society members may recall an enlightening and delightful program presented in 2013 by Connie’s mother, Dr. Clarice Boswell. Connie is carrying on her mother’s tradition.

Historian Connie Martin will present a program on how “secret codes” in pre-Civil War quilts aided escapees on Underground Railroad. The event on Monday, March 9, at Tiskilwa’s Museum on Main begins at 7:00 p.m. and, as always, is free and open to the whole community.

The Tiskilwa Public Library and the Tiskilwa Historical Society are co-sponsoring Monday evening’s program. Community members of all ages planning to attend can find a preview in age-appropriate books at the Tiskilwa Library about the Underground Railroad. Their collection includes Dr. Boswell’s book, “Lizzie’s Story: A Slave Family’s Journey to Freedom,” a lively record of the life of Dr. Boswell’s grandmother, whose parents were slaves.

During the social and refreshment time following the program, visitors may also enjoy viewing the new showcase display in the Timeline Gallery. Numerous photos and other display items connect with John James Audubon, in anticipation of the museum’s April 13 program. At that time, popular historian and author Brian “Fox” Ellis will return to Tiskilwa, this time in the persona of Audubon as he reflects on his artistic career and his special fascination with America’s birds. The April presentation is made possible through a grant from the Illinois Humanities Council.

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