Press Release - Detail
For immediate release Thursday April 12, 2018

Roy L. Williams            
Director of Public Relations        
Birmingham Public Library             
Phone: (205) 226-3746 cell (205) 568-0067            

What: Quilt Display and Discussion of the “Underground Railroad” quilts
When: Friday, April 20, 2018, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Where: Powderly Branch Library, 
Details: Come to see the talented women from the Riley Center Quilters/Riley Community Center share a display of their quilts and lead a discussion of the "Underground Railroad" quilts.
For more information about the Riley Center Quilters, click on this link Riley Center Quilters/Riley Community Center or go to

Birmingham, Ala.-On April 20, join the Powderly Branch Library as it hosts a display by members of the Riley Center Quilters  and a discussion of how quilts helped lead slaves to freedom along the famed“Underground Railroad” trail. 

The Quilt Display and “Underground Railroad” Quilt discussion will take place from 10 a.m. to noon at the Powderly Library,  3301 Jefferson Ave. SW.  The discussion will be led by Teresa Johnson, executive director of the Riley Community Center and a member of the Riley Center Quilters. The Riley Center, 3617 Hickory Ave. SW, has been hosting the Riley Center Quilters since 1987.

Johnson has been quilting over five decades since she was taught at age 9 by her grandmother. She said Riley Center Quilters has 25 members ranging in age from 55 to 87, and many will display their quilts and participate in the discussion.

“We will be showing the art of hand-quilting,” Johnson said. “This has been my passion.”

Johnson said the panel discussion will educate people about the role quilts played in leading runaway slaves to freedom. Along the route of the Underground Railroad, quilts would let slaves know if the area was safe.

“If you saw a quilt in a window or on a fence it would tell you whether to stay hid or keep on moving,” Johnson said. “A bowtie quilt was a symbol you need to dress up and look like free slaves. A shoe pattern meant to hide in the woods as slave owners were nearby. Underground quilts were a secret code.”

For more information about the Riley Center Quilters, click on this link Riley Center Quilters/Riley Community Center or go to
About the Birmingham Public Library (BPL)
For additional information about the programs and services of the Birmingham Public Library, visit our website at and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter @BPL. The mission of Birmingham Public Library is to provide the highest quality experience to our community for lifelong learning, cultural enrichment, and enjoyment. This system—with 19 locations and serving the community for 130 years—is one of the largest library systems in the southeast.

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