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This I Accomplish: Harriet Powers' Bible Quilt and Other Pieces [Kindle Edition]

Kyra E. Hicks , Bill Gaskins
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The powerful quilts of Harriet Powers (1837-1910), a former Athens, Georgia slave, continue to capture our imagination today. Her two-known creations, the Bible Quilt and the Pictorial Quilt, have independently survived since stitched more than a century ago. Over the years, thousands of museum visitors to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston have stood transfixed viewing her artwork.

Powers' two quilts are arguably the most well-known and cited coverings in American quilt history. But, until today, no one has told the entire, dramatic story of how these two quilts, one of which initially sold for $5, were coveted, cared for, and cherished for decades in private homes before emerging as priceless, national treasures.

This I Accomplish: Harriet Powers' Bible Quilt and Other Pieces brings to light new, exciting facts - many never before published: complete exhibition history for both known quilts; proof Harriet Powers was a literate, award-winning quilter, who stitched at least five quilts and promoted her own artwork; profiles of the two nineteenth century women who sought to purchase the Bible Quilt; profiles of the three men who once owned the Pictorial Quilt; unveiling of a young artist who embellished the Pictorial Quilt; and the name of the person who first made the connection in the twentieth century that Harriet Powers stitched both quilts.

This I Accomplish: Harriet Powers' Bible Quilt and Other Pieces is the most comprehensive resource guide on this influential African American quilter. The book includes nearly 200 bibliographic references, most annotative, including books, exhibition catalogs, newspapers, plays, poetry, interactive map and more. For the first time ever, readers are provided with clues and encouraged to search for Harriet Powers' lost 1882 Lord's Supper Quilt.

This I Accomplish: Harriet Powers' Bible Quilt and Other Pieces is written by Kyra E. Hicks, a quilter whose story quilts have appeared in over forty group exhibitions in places such as the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, NY, the Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C., and the American Folk Art Museum in NY. Hicks is the author of Black Threads: An African American Quilting Sourcebook and Martha Ann's Quilt for Queen Victoria. She lives in Arlington, Virginia.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Kyra E. Hicks is a marketing professional and quilter.  She was so mesmerized after seeing Eva Ungar Grudin's 1990 exhibition, "Stitching Memories: African-American Story Quilts," that she began to teach herself to create her own quilts. "I found my voice that afternoon in the museum," she remembers. Today, Kyra's quilts have been included in more than forty exhibitions in venues such as the American Craft Museum in New York, the Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C., and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum in Hartford. She hosts the African American quilting news blog, Black Threads.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1326 KB
  • Print Length: 182 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0982479654
  • Publisher: Black Threads Press (March 10, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #574,810 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Groundbreaking July 9, 2009
A sensation from the moment it was first exhibited, since 1886 the Bible Quilt and its reprise, the Pictorial Quilt, made by Georgia native and former slave Harriet Powers has been featured in more than 150 news articles, books, poems and plays. It is thus both remarkable and embarrassing that not until Kyra Hicks's latest work has anyone bothered to verify the received wisdom about the woman who is arguably the world's best-known quilter.

Hicks's easy, conversational and very personal tone belies the painstaking care of her research. What apparently began as an annotated bibliography snowballed into an astonishingly detailed provenance which both documents the lives of key figures in the quilts' history and refutes commonly held, if perennially evolving, assumptions about Powers.

It soon becomes clear to the reader that from the first, everyone who saw Powers's Bible Quilt regarded it as not only unique, but a work of art - high praise given its abstract design, the status of quilts as homely craft, and the tenuous role of black women in turn-of-the-century rural Georgia. Among the visitors of both races crowding to see it at the 1886 Northeast Georgia Fair was Jennie Smith, a white art teacher at an Athens girls' school. Smith was so captivated she tracked down Powers and offered to buy the quilt. After three meetings in four years, she convinced Powers to sell, agreeing to supply the avid quilter with fabric scraps and granting her what can best be described as visitation rights to the quilt. Smith carefully recorded Powers's description of the quilt's subjects, and exhibited it at least once thereafter, identifying Powers as the maker. In 1969 Smith's executor donated the quilt to the Smithsonian, and again it became a sensation.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely a "MUST" Read!!!!!!!!!!!! July 7, 2009
If you like mystery stories, quilts or quilt history, and, particularly, if you are one of the legions of persons who admire or have heard of the two famous Harriet Powers quilts, this is a "MUST" read!

Kyra Hicks is an extraordinary researcher who will tenaciously follow a lead wherever it takes her - intellectually and physically. "This I Accomplish" - actual words of Harriet Powers - allows you to follow Hicks as she discovers and uncovers important, previously unknown, DOCUMENTED facts about Mrs. Powers.

Swearing me to secrecy, Kyra periodically shared information as she returned from trips, found documents, located people, etc. One of her disclosures about a mischievous child had me running to get a large photo of the quilt while we were on the telephone. It is hilarious! Believe me, those tidbits did not mar my reading the book. I literally could not put it down, except for brief periods, until I completed it.

Kyra knows that she has not learned all that there is to know about the Harriet Powers story. Not only does she challenge others to continue the research, she - unselfishly - points out possible leads to follow. As one of "Harriet's Daughters" ( [...] ), I thank Kyra Hicks for this book!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding! July 15, 2009
Fascinating! From the opening words of this book to the closing ones...a spellbinding tale is woven.

Kyra Hicks has long been dedicated to making accessible comprehensive information about quiltmaking among African Americans from historical as well as contemporary perspectives. Her sourcebook, Black Threads, covers 200 years and cites more than 1,700 bibliographic references. With This I Accomplish, Kyra moves from the general to the specific and focuses on the extraordinary work of one woman, Harriet Powers, who against all odds has been celebrated for her creativity, vision, and mastery.

It is utterly remarkable that quilts made in the 1880's by a former slave have not only been carefully and lovingly preserved, but from the beginning were considered to be art, not bedcovers. But who were the caretakers through the years and how did they come to play such an important role in the conservation of this historical artwork? And just how accurate are all those unchallenged assumptions that have long been made about Harriet Powers based simply on her past status as a slave?

This I Accomplish is a masterpiece of scholarship and detective work. The amount of research that Kyra Hicks has done to unravel these mysteries and her willingness to follow even the slightest lead is astonishing. She undertook a herculean task to find and assemble the myriad pieces of this puzzle. The details she shares are fascinating, and the reader will be astounded by the significance of previously unknown information that Kyra has been able to uncover and now discloses.

This book is a testament to Kyra's skills as a scholar, to her dedication to the preservation of history, and to her deep admiration and respect for the artistry and legacy of Harriet Powers.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reads like a wonderful mystery story July 15, 2009
Kyra's intimate style of revealing her research findings, step by step, feels like a Nancy Drew mystery unfolding before me. It is a page turner. "This I Accomplish" is intended for adults, but certainly would be enjoyed by younger history buffs too.

Through Kyra's book we learn facts never revealed about Harriet Powers, the former slave, born in 1837, who became the recognized quilt maker known today for her primitive style appliqué quilts depicting tales from the Bible and American history.

The intimate quality of this delightful book about a 19th century African-American woman is due to Kyra's passion for it and joy exclaimed at each successful juncture in her discovery process. Kyra's deep respect and admiration for Harriet is easily sensed throughout the book, making Harriet became a real person and furthering my appreciation of her life.

About half of the book is a long version of the tale of discovery of Harriet Powers, her quilts and their owners and it contains photos. The last half of the book is broken into sections with detailed additional information to document Harriet Powers fully and to aid future researchers including an annotated comprehensive bibliography, timeline, and contemporary quilts made in honor of Harriet Powers.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book. I recommend it to quilt history enthusiasts, quilters, students of women's history, genealogists, new researchers wondering what the process is like for someone else, and female detective story buffs.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Bless the Souls of these Early Quilter's
What a powerful legacy and history for African American and all quilters. This is a have to have book for quilters, who followed the Gee Island quilters and others.
Published 10 days ago by Robbysbebe
5.0 out of 5 stars A Remarkable Woman and Two Beautiful Quilts!
I loved this book. I had never heard of Harriet Powers until I came across this book. It was wonderful and easy to read. I found it by accident and am glad that I did. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Angelia Pillow
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
It is quite helpful I like colored pictures in a book.
Published 8 months ago by Catherine Furevick
5.0 out of 5 stars Quilt now hangs in the Smithsonian
This is the amazing story of Harriet Powers and the Bible Quilt which she made. Her quilt now hangs in the Smitsonian Museum.
Published 15 months ago by Claude Blakely
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice
I didn't read it. I bought it as a gift for a quilting friend who is also a student of the bible; she should love it..
Published 18 months ago by Judith Farrell-Booth
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting subject, boring presentation
I am interested in all things "quilt", except this book. I am sure the author chose her subject with passion but the book is about as passionless as a piece of beige... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Myrna Beebe
5.0 out of 5 stars MUST HAVE FOR QUILTERS
Published 23 months ago by YVONNE S. REEDER
4.0 out of 5 stars quilting find
I love this book the title was interesting and the contents was super. I enjoy just reading this history. There needs to be more of this art in books.
Published on June 27, 2012 by phillips
5.0 out of 5 stars Dignity, Strength, Grace
I've been fascinated by these quilts for years, and had the general knowledge of them. Yesterday, when I discovered a book had been written about Harriett Powers, I purchased it... Read more
Published on November 29, 2011 by C Quilts
3.0 out of 5 stars Mysteries revealed
The story behind the quilts was fascinating. I have admired this work of art for years and appreciated all of the background information supplied in the book. Read more
Published on August 15, 2011 by V
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More About the Author

Kyra E. Hicks was mesmerized after seeing Eva Ungar Grudin's 1990 exhibition, "Stitching Memories: African-American Story Quilts," that she began to teach herself to create her own quilts. "I found my voice that afternoon in the museum," she remembers. Today, Kyra's quilts have been included in more than 40 group exhibitions. She hosts the African American quilting news blog, Black Threads. Kyra resides in Arlington, VA.

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