In the event your memory of American history is feeling a little rusty, this week The Learning Curve will be presenting a few short history lessons, courtesy of NBC Learn, the education arm of NBC News.
During the 19th century, thousands of slaves escaped to freedom via the Underground Railroad, a network of people and safe houses that ushered them to freedom in the north and in Canada. In this video, an art history professor at Howard University explains how the quilts made by South Carolina slaves contained secret codes that helped escaped slaves navigate their way to freedom.
"Quilts, quilt patterns, all were part of a signaling device helping slaves to move towards Ohio and eventually up to Canada," Professor Raymond Dobard says. "One quilt containing several patterns, a sampler-type quilt, was used in order to teach the code. The code had to be memorized."
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