THE HISTORY: March 25, 2015 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March. On that day in 1965, Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. led 25,000 nonviolent demonstrators to the state capitol in Montgomery following a 5-day, 54-mile march.
The march was preceded by two attempts, the first of which resulted in the infamous “Bloody Sunday” on March 7, 1965. All three demonstrations were conducted in the name of equal voting rights for African Americans, and the actions of these brave men and women set in motion the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which forever prohibited racial discrimination in voting across the United States.
At the conclusion of the march, Reverend King told the assembled crowd, “There never was a moment in American history more honorable and more inspiring than the pilgrimage of clergymen and laymen of every race and faith pouring into Selma to face danger at the side of its embattled Negroes.”
THE PROJECT: In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March, the Bib & Tucker Sew-Op – alongside community partners including the Birmingham Museum of Art, UAB’s Department of Art & Art History, UAB’s ArtPlay, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and the Desert Island Supply Co. – has created THE MARCH QUILTS: A Community Project. Throughout January and February 2015 community members across Birmingham and the state of Alabama are invited to participate in open sewing sessions and create 7” quilt blocks that will be sewn into large, commemorative narrative quilts.
Upon completion in March, the quilts will be publicly exhibited in Selma and Montgomery for the 50th anniversary and will then return to Birmingham for a special celebration.
THE HOW-TO: Making a quilt square is a fun, simple process and no sewing experience is necessary. Attend one or several open sewing sessions (calendar forthcoming). Your quilt square may embody any representation of the Civil Rights Movement through images, symbols or words, and participants are encouraged to express their individual creativity on each square. If you need guidance or inspiration to get you started, peruse THE MARCH QUILTS image bank (coming soon). Once you choose an image, symbol or text, select a 7” square of fabric and compose your block. You may appliqué, embroider, or draw your symbol. Facilitators are available to help guide you through the process. Please leave a ¼ – inch border around the edge of your square. This area is called the “sewing allowance” and will be hidden once the squares are sewn together.