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H Variation Quilt: "Milky Way"

Nettie Young (American, 1916–2010)

The women of Gee’s Bend, a small rural Black community in Alabama of about seven hundred residents, have been creating bold, visually distinctive quilts since at least the 1920s.

Nettie Young was co-manager of the Freedom Quilting Bee, a cooperative established in 1966 that provided local women with steady jobs and income. It contracted with New York decorators and Bloomingdale’s to create made-to-order quilts including new patterns such as Milky Way by New York designer Sara Stein featuring circles within squares. Members of the Bee would often adapt these patterns for their own use, as seen here. Nettie Young combined Stein’s commercial design with a traditional H pattern to create a dynamic composition.

Object Details

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