On Nov. 4, 2008, as millions of people around the world awaited the results of the U.S. presidential election, they should have seen the patchwork on the wall. “When historians dig down to the level of citizen experience, they’ll discover that quilts actually predicted the 2008 election,” writes Meg Cox, president of the Alliance for American Quilts, in her forward to a new book Journey of Hope: Quilts Inspired by President Barack Obama. “Obama quilts were everywhere . . . and McCain quilts were scarce.”
To document that quilted path to the White House, Carolyn L. Mazloomi, the author of the book and “one of the world’s most influential African-American quilt historians and artists,” assembled a gallery of more than 100 Obama-inspired quilts. Each tells a story about Obama’s journey to the presidency, some in the context of American black history, such as one imagining Obama on a bus with the late American civil rights activist Rosa Parks.
There’s also an “I Never Thought I Would Live to See the Day!” quilt. “We know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness,” said the new President in his 2009 inaugural address. Perhaps he was paying homage to the quilt.