UMKC Professor Pearlie Johnson Uses Quilts to Teach Black History

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by Diverse Staff and The Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Quilts are being used to teach Black history at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Pearlie Johnson, a visiting assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Black studies program, says “My grandmother introduced me to quilts and quilting when I was younger.”

The university says Johnson uses a section of her class on Black women’s history to lecture on the significance of the stories told by quilts.

She uses quilts from her private collection as well as items made by Kansas City quilters, some of whom she invites to speak to her class. “Quilts lend themselves as visual aids, teaching students about women’s history and contemporary issues related to women,” she says. “The quilts also address political issues related to race, class, gender and identity and representation.”

Johnson says the quilts help students gain a greater appreciation for art, especially fiber and fabric art. “Students learn not only the challenges that Africans have transcended, but more so, the magnificent contributions Africa has made to world civilization,” she says.

See full Q&A with Pearlie Johnson at www.umkc.edu

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