“Quilting a Beloved Community” began on February 21, 2021 as part of the Black History Month programming created by the Historical Society of Forest Park, Forest Park Against Racism, the Forest Park Public Library, and What is Juneteenth? This event was created by Dr. Melissa Blount, an Evanston-based psychologist, artist, and activist, and led by Rachel Wallis. Prior to the program each participant picked up a kit from the Forest Park Public Library with all the supplies they would need to create a quilt square. Toni Preckwinkle, President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, began the event by sharing the inspiration she had received from quilts given to her by different communities through the years. Rachel Wallis led the group through the history of quilts in Black communities and then provided a lesson in basic embroidery technique.
After our virtual sewing circled logged off, each participant continued to work on their quilt block independently, creating 25 unique pieces. A community quilt is special because of all the different artist interpretations, color choices, and skill levels. Each block represents a unique person, and together they create a quilt in the same way that the individuals of Forest Park create a community.
The blocks were returned to the Library and sewn together to create the quilt top you see here today on Juneteenth, 2021. Next the quilt will be layered with cotton batting and backed with fabric from Afrique Clothing Store. This fabric is composed of feathers of different colors and sizes, representing the diversity of our community. All three layers will be quilted together and the binding will be added to finish the quilt.
This quilt will be displayed throughout our community every Black History Month. The Historical Society of Forest Park, Forest Park Against Racism, the Forest Park Public Library, and What is Juneteenth? hope to lead the community in creating a new quilt each Juneteenth, and to display it alongside the previous years’ quilts. We hope that next year you will join us.