The Lynch Quilts Project
a community driven project by artist LaShawnda Crowe Storm
A little lengthy, but answers many of the questions about The Lynch Quilts Project.
What is The Lynch Quilts Project?
In a nutshell, The Lynch Quilts Project © 2002 is a community-based project
developed by artist LaShawnda Crowe Storm, which explores the history and ramifications of ethnic and racial violence in the U.S., especially lynching, through the textile tradition of quilting. Individuals from all walks of life and backgrounds contribute to the project to make it happen. Starting with just 10 volunteers from the Needles and Thread Quilters Quilt Guild in Chicago, a 16+ years later and dozens have participated and thousands encountered the project.
How many quilts are in the series?
There are a total of 8 quilts in the series (and counting). Series I includes the original 6 quilts which explore lynching from a variety of perspectives (gender, politics, healing, memory, etc.). In 2014, Series 2 started to emerge in response to community dialogues around rising police violence, mass incarceration and overall increase in anti-black racism in the public sphere, which produced two additional quilts thus far.
Quilt I, Her Name was Laura Nelson, completed in 2004, explores gender issues in lynching.
Quilt II, RedRum Summer 1919, completed in 2014, examines the human connection and relationships, both public and private, between those involved in lynching and racial violence - the victims, by-standers, spectators and perpetrators.
Quilt III, A Partial Listing, completed in 2017, examines the statistical data on lynching and racial violence, which is often murky and incomplete, as it has unfolded over the past 100+years.
Quilt IV, Failed State (TBA), completed in 2016, explores juxtaposition where American history , ideology and rhetoric collides with reality.
Quilt V, The Making Quilt, explores the communal aspect of healing after this tragedy.
Quilt VI, Memoria: In Progress, is a memorial project to those actual victims of lynching and racial violence in the United States beginning in 1865. This is an on-going project that has been presented since 2010.
Quilt VII, The Ties that Bind, This quilt explores the intricate connections of oppression faced by black, red and brown peoples as they encounter racialized oppression, police violence and the prison industrial complex. This quilt explores more than just the impact of white supremacy and state violence, but how these histories of oppression have existed between the these groups as well, and must be healed in order for true unity to flourish between red, black and brown peoples.
Quilt VII, Angles in America: Boyhood in Red, White and Blue, explores the collision course of state violence and black boyhood. Sensitive issues as we working directly with families of victims of violence.
Quilt IX, Sampling Justice, is a sampler quilt constructed from all the remaining pieces of fabric and donations from The Lynch Quilts Project. It will be the last quilt in the series.
Who can participate on the Project?
EVERYONE! Novice to experts quilters. Black, brown, red, yellow and white or somewhere in between. This is our history and we must reclaim and heal it! Please join us on the journey.
There are lots of ways to participate.
Sew quilts! Novice or expert! All are welcome!
Learn about the history in your community and let us know.
Exhibition opportunities in your community.
Donate supplies or monetary gifts. Unfortunately we cannot provide a tax deductible at this time.
Your Questions Answered
I want to help but don't sew well. Can I still participate?
The short answer is OF COURSE! This is a community project and we encourage AND welcome all to participate. For those of you new to sewing, click here for information and resources to help you get started.
Once the quilts are completed, what happens next?
The goal is to travel The Lynch Quilts Project for exhibition to each of those communities where people have participated. As such we are working to exhibit LQP in those larger metropolitan and/or regional cities that have LQP participants and/or areas where there is strong support for LQP.
For example, Chicago, IL would be an obvious choice given the large amount of participants located in that metropolitan area. However, small towns like Vernonia, OR are also key exhibition sites because of effort put forth by individuals in this community to champion LQP in their area.
I don't quilt and I am not crafty, but want to support LQP. What can I do?
You can start by spreading the word concerning LQP in your community. Another way to support the project is to begin locating venues and contacts within your community so that the seeds of support can be planted. Thus, when the time comes to travel LQP for exhibition purposes, the resources will already be in place to make this process run as smooth as possible. In essence, the more support and connection we have in a particular community, large or small, the better the chance we will have for exhibiting the project in your community. This type of support also leads to other community outgrowths on the topic such as public lectures, artist gallery talks, school discussions and more.
Other ways you can assist The Lynch Quilts Project:
Research the history of lynching and ethnic/racial strife in your community
Locate community-based art centers and galleries in your area for the display of LQP. The goal would be to try and display ALL 5 quilts at the same time.
Assist with locating funding and sponsors to help support the projects exhibition costs such as shipping, travel, etc.
Donations of in-kind items such as sewing machines, cutting mats, thread, fabric, space, etc. support community sewing events for The Lynch Quilts Project through Sewing for Healing, as well as financial contributions. Gifts as small as $5 go a long way in supporting LQP needs.
How do I make donations to The Lynch Quilts Project?
At present, donations to The Lynch Quilts Project are not tax deductible. All in-kind donations of materials and products can be mailed to:
LaShawnda Crowe Storm
P.O. Box 90348
Indianapolis, IN 46290
How does The Lynch Quilts Project relate to my community?
At its core, this project is about the history of America and the damaging effect these events have on our contemporary reality in a variety of ways, both internally neighbor to neighbor and externally country to country. In essence, black, white, brown, red and yellow - we are all Americans and we don't get to pick and choose which parts of our national legacy we embrace. The good, the bad and the ugly makes up who we are as the American people. Thus, we must stand together to heal this history in order to move toward a more tolerant and conscientious future that is based on a truthful understanding where we have come from.
It really is that simple.
On an international scale, can we truly be a moral compass for other nations when we will not acknowledge and address the historical wrongs of our past and actively try to bring reconciliation and healing? Consider this, except for the extreme Northeast, lynchings have occurred in EVERY state of the United States. And although African American men were the primary target of this heinous form of domestic terrorism, women, children, Native Americans, Asians, Mexicans and undesirable whites were also unjustly executed in this manner.
I read in the LQP statement that this project is a healing ritual. What does this mean?
I believe society cannot heal and move beyond its past transgressions if these issues are not first acknowledged and eventually become a part of the national dialogue and awareness.
As such, the first steps in any form of healing begins by opening the door and letting the bones fall out the closet so that they can be inspected, by pulling back the rug and examining the forgotten dust bunnies, by looking at the elephant in the room and meeting its gaze head on . . . and saying,"We see you."