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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

I Couldn’t Slow Down With Emily, After All

What I plan to wear on Thursday evening
Summer kicked into high gear early this year, it seems. No sooner did our little reading circle, a.k.a. (originally, years ago) the intrepid Ulysses reading group, choose a date to discuss the poetry of Emily Dickinson than the first member’s conflict arose, to be followed by another, and another, and another…. So while I didn’t have a specific conflict, we were so far from a quorum already that I didn’t feel terrible saying I could ill afford a social evening.

I’m hoping Thursday evening will be cool enough for me to wear my old, worn, thrift shop quilted jacket (see above), the one that looks like someone’s great-grandmother made it (as is probably the case). It is the perfect attire in which to meet Rachel May, author of An American Quilt: Unfolding a Story of Family and Slavery, and introducing her to my Northport audience. The date is propitious, too, only two days after Juneteenth, the date commemorating the Emancipation Proclamation. And on that subject, let me say that I am concerned with proposed changes to school social studies standards for the State of Michigan.  
Sadly, this year Juneteenth (June 19), as well as my guest author’s appearance (June 21), come at a time when another group is suffering within our borders. As punishment for their attempt to enter the country — even those seeking asylum — parents have had their children taken from them, and children have been put in detention camps. True, this is not an entirely new development, but it seems to be worsening daily. And is it relevant that these camps are run by private companies, profiting from the misery of brown-skinned children? Is anyone else reminded of parents and children of enslaved Black people being separated? Of Native American children being forcibly removed from their families and put in residential schools?

First TEA guest in our summer series
But Rachel May’s story is not one of unrelieved misery. Some of the people whose history she uncovers were able to make the transition to freedom. She is also, besides being a researcher, teacher, and writer, a devoted quilter, as well, and I know she will be happy to talk about her quilting life, what she has learned about quilts and outstanding American quilters, and how her approach to the craft has changed over time. So, crafters and historians and anyone eager to learn, welcome to our first Thursday Evening Author event. We'll begin at 7 p.m., and I hope you’ll be able to join us. 
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