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Black Pioneers: Legacy In The American West

October 26, 2024 @ 10:00 am - February 16, 2025 @ 5:00 pm

Sandra Noble, Annie Box Neal, 2021, ©Sandra E. Noble.

Black Pioneers: Legacy In The American West
October 26, 2024 – February 16, 2025

“When thinking about the American Wild West, many imagine characters from a classic western movie. But the reality is, the West is – and was – a melting pot. This ground-breaking exhibit fills in the mostly missing historical record of Black people in 19th-century America.”

                                                                                                                             – Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi

The Upcountry History Museum will invite visitors to experience a first-of-its kind exhibit when it hosts Black Pioneers: Legacy in the American West. The national touring exhibit, organized by The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art, St. Petersburg, FL and Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi, artist, renowned historian and one of the foremost experts on African American quilting history and traditions, explores Black history in the American West.

The exhibit follows the path of Black history in the West through a timeline of original pictorial quilts. These colorful, richly detailed works of art chronicle the arrival of Africans in the American West in 1528, all the way through the Civil Rights Movement, bringing to life forgotten stories and lesser-known chapters in history. Dispelling the myth that Black people in the old West were mostly cowboys, Black Pioneers reveals the breadth of their occupations and achievements in society, religion, education, and the arts.

Quilts were chosen as the visual medium for the exhibit to highlight the intersections of African Americans in the Western Frontier while informing visitors about the art form and its important role in African American history. For African American women, quilts have always been at the core of artistic expression, taking form in the social, economic, and spiritual lives of the women who make them.

The 50 quilts, designed for the exhibit, were created by the Women of Color Quilters Network (WCQN) especially for the exhibition. Each quilt features a different Black pioneer, their life story researched and depicted in fabric by the quilt’s creator.

Founded by Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi in 1985, WCQN is a non-profit national organization whose mission is to educate, preserve, exhibit, promote and document quilts made by African Americans.


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October 26 @ 10:00 am
February 16, 2025 @ 5:00 pm