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Quilt as a Metaphor

At the 1984 Democratic National Convention, Jesse Jackson described his "rainbow coalition" with these words:

America is not like a blanket -- one piece of unbroken cloth, the same color, the same texture, the same size. America is more like a quilt: many patches, many pieces, many colors, many sizes, all woven and held together by a common thread. The white, the Hispanic, the black, the Arab, the Jew, the woman, the native American, the small farmer, the businessperson, the environmentalist, the peace activist, the young, the old, the lesbian, the gay, and the disabled make up the American quilt. wikiquote

When thinking about a quilt to illustrate this quote, this sunburst comes to mind, as it shows all the rainbow colors. However, it doesn't show how diverse we are--the "many sizes."











Then this one comes to mind--made up of intricate patching of hundreds of pieces.







But I think a "crazy quilt" may be a better image: a lot of patches of various sizes, colors, and shapes, sewed together in an harmonious whole-something greater than the sum of its parts.


Sunburst Quilt, Meadowlands Museum

Intricate Pieced block, Ridgewood Historical Society

Crazy Quilt, private collection


Photos by Marion T. Brown

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