I spent yesterday afternoon at the DuSable Museum of African American History here in Chicago. I hadn't been since I was a kid. Even though it's a small museum, we still spent over three hours looking at the permanent exhibits and, my favorite part, the special exhibit on Cuesta Benberry and her collection of quilts. Benberry was an educator and historian who became interested in quilts through learning about her husband's family's tradition of quilting. In a 1983 letter, she wrote, "I believe the efforts of the present generation of quilt researchers will result in works so compelling that further denials of the value and importance of quilt history will be impossible."
The beauty of the quilts is obvious, but we were also struck by the care and love that went into them. Some also made political statements or reflected sociological trends. It's hard to choose a favorite, but mine might be the two friendship quilts and the one quilt made by Cuesta Benberry herself, a history quilt.