Master of Arts (MA)
First Committee Member
Number of Pages
Just as eighteenth century master seamstress Betsy Ross implemented more meanings and messages into the first American flag than what is obvious at first glance, so too did African American seamstresses weave messages into quilt patterns used on the Underground Railroad. Similar to the way themes of freedom and liberty in the Declaration of Independence were reinterpreted to include disenfranchised groups, Biblical themes such as heaven and the Promised Land were reinterpreted to include slaves. This study examines the visual rhetoric of nineteenth century textiles used by the Underground Railroad. From the evidence examined, I argue that the visual texts of quilting during the nineteenth century were complete multimedia devices used not only by African Americans but other disenfranchised groups such as Abolitionists, Native Americans, Woman Suffrage Activists and Freemasons. Nineteenth century visual rhetoric was significant both historically and rhetorically to many American subcultures.
Century; Contact; Nineteenth; Points; Railroad; Rhetoric; Underground; Visual
Mass media; Blacks; History; Ethnology--Study and teaching
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
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Ransaw, Theodore, "Points of contact: Nineteenth century visual rhetoric of the Underground Railroad" (2005). UNLV Retrospective Theses & Dissertations. 1903.