Cross Country Trip, Final Stops

It’s hard to believe that this time last week, Mr. N and I were still in the midst of our cross country trip.  I have a bit of free time this evening, so I thought I’d tell you a little bit about the last days of our trip.

We spent the beginning of last week at my parents in Virginia, which was lovely, but went by far too fast — and, as usual, things were so busy I forgot to take many pictures.  There was yummy food, fishing and knitting by a pond, and because I was home a few days longer than expected, I got to help my mom out with a knitting class she was teaching at a senior camp.  Our class was small (three lovely women), and we were working on making a simple, cotton washcloth.  I’m not sure how much headway we made with two of the trio, but one woman left having caught the knitting bug — hoorah!

On Thursday we continued onto DC, and Friday morning we were lucky enough to have an opportunity to visit the National Museum of African American History & Culture.  It is an incredibly moving museum, one that would definitely repay many, many visits.  I’ve never been to a museum that was so well-attended, with so many people really engaged with the exhibits.  Much of the material is difficult and emotional, of course, but the museum presents a really important recounting of American history — I’m so glad it’s now open to the public and is doing this important work.  If you find yourself in D.C., I can’t encourage you enough to spend some time there.

For the most part, I just wanted to experience and process the exhibits.  But when I came across some different handmade items, I managed to remember to pull out the camera.

Like this tin made by Joseph Trammel, a man living in 19th century Virginia, designed to protect his freedom papers:

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Or this heartbreaking sack, given by an enslaved woman named Rose to her daughter Ashley. It was filled with pecans and a lock of Rose’s hair for Ashley to remember her mother by.  Ashley’s granddaughter, Ruth Middleton, embroidered the sack with the story in the 1920s.

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Harriet Tubman’s shawl, given to her by Queen Victoria:

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This skirt, carefully made for an enslaved girl named Lucy Lee Shirley:

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And this skillfully made dress and beautifully embroidered scarf (from the late 18th or early 19th century), both of which were made by unknown enslaved women:

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We had a morning to explore, and it wasn’t anywhere near enough time.  I hope I have another chance to visit soon.

After that, we spent one more lovely evening in DC with friends … then Saturday Mr. N deposited me with our friend and he headed for his flight in New York.  And that brought an end to our wonderful adventure.  The Fade continues, if a bit slowly … looking forward to showing you more soon.

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Cross Country Trip, Final Stops

    1. Yes, it’s a wonderful museum well worth a visit if you make it over to the US. The museum’s mission is to educate visitors about African American history and culture, and it recounts the horrors of slavery and stories of individual resilience and courage. The exhibits show how this country was literally built on the backs of enslaved men and women. The mission of the museum is to encourage people to learn and engage with American history. The confederate monuments, though, serve a very different purpose. They were never intended as simple commemorations or educational tools — they were almost all built decades and even a century after the Civil War, often with the development of legal segregation (Jim Crow laws) or during the Civil Rights movement as tools of intimidation, designed to send a clear message to people of color that they were not welcome in the community. To understand the calls for those monuments to come down, I think it’s important to understand the reason they were put up in the first place.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thanks for sharing all your photos of those textiles! It must have been so impressive to be surrounded by physical artifacts of slavery. When I visited the Liberty Bell, there was an interesting exhibit about the slaves at the President’s House Site, but it lacked artifacts, making it hard to visualize what life was like at the house.

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