By: Marlene O’Bryant-Seabrook
Like many Southern African-American women, Maggie McFarland Gillispie was taught to quilt by her mother. She, in turn, passed the skill to her only child – a son. This paper reviews the literature on Southern African-American matrilineal quilters, discusses the existence of African males in the textile arts in Africa and during slavery, and explains how European gender-role ideology has permeated the African-American male views of quilting and other needle arts. The details of this extraordinary story of an inseparable mother and child are based on an oral history and other primary sources.