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Program planned on pre-Civil War quilts

Published: Monday, April 1, 2013 4:20 p.m. CST

TISKILWA — Underground Railroad history buffs and quilters alike are in for a special treat in an upcoming program for the second annual collaboration between the Tiskilwa Public Library and the Tiskilwa Historical Society.

On April 8, Dr. Clarice Boswell of Plainfield will present “Pre-Civil War Quilts: Their Hidden Codes to Freedom of Slaves through the Underground Railroad” at 7 p.m. in the Museum on Main, 110 East Main St., Tiskilwa.

Ever wonder how fugitive slaves found their way safely northward to freedom along Illinois’ Underground Railroad? Boswell’s decade of research reveals that much of their communication, of necessity, was without words. In fact, many pre-Civil War era quilts held secret codes, interpreted by slaves and abolitionists to enable escaping slaves to follow a safe route.

In addition to pre-Civil War and replicas quilts, Boswell will share her own family’s stories, many of which are recorded in her book, “Lizzie’s Story: A Slave Family’s Journey to Freedom.” Boswell, a retired administrator and instructor at Joliet High School and St. Francis University in Joliet, earned her doctoral degree in adult continuing education at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb.

All programs at the Museum on Main are free and open to the public and the museum is handicapped accessible. Anyone with questions may call Karyn at the Tiskilwa Public Library, 815-646-4511.

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