By Dave Mistich – West Virginia Public Broadcasting
October 8, 2012 · It’s difficult to imagine the hardships that 19th century African American slaves endured traveling the Underground Railroad, risking their lives with hopes to one day be free. Of the many fascinating tactics they used along the way, the most visually striking is the secret codes that were sewn onto quilts and hung outside to give warning or tell them the area was safe.
“We’re standing in front of the Bear Paw Trail quilt,” said Teresa Kemp.
She is standing in front of an impressive quilt with blue squares and triangles formed together to produce shapes that look similar to bear paws scattered across a white background. That quilt is one of dozens in the exhibit that depicts secret codes used by slaves to help one another along the Underground Railroad.
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