There is still time to stop by the where two exhibits are currently on display honoring black history month.
In the Margaret Mercer Room, the I Have A Dream Committee presents a history of the annual Martin Luther King Day March in Leesburg. Beginning in 1992, the annual community commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream is now in its twentieth year.
The history of collaboration between the organizations behind the march – the Loudoun County Branch NAACP, the Loudoun Douglass Alumni Association, Baha’i Community of Loudoun and the Bluemont Concert Series, known together as the ‘I Have a Dream Committee’ – is revealed through speeches, photographs, newspaper clippings, ribbons and other mementoes.
Also on view during February, the Thomas Balch Library presents The Underground Railroad Quilt in the John Janney room. Created by local quilter Debra Petitt and donated to the Library in 2011, the quilt features patterns passed down by oral tradition that may have been used to provide directions and advice to escaping slaves on the dangerous journey to freedom.
Quilts, long a source of personal and artistic expression for enslaved and free African Americans before the Civil War, were easily adapted to display symbols that helped guide “passengers” between safe havens on the Underground Railroad.
Pettit’s sixteen panel quilt features one set of symbols in the order they may have been used and describes the meaning of each symbol. More than just a roadmap, the symbols depicted on The Underground Railroad Quilt also document the experience of escaping slaves on their journey to freedom.
Both exhibits are free and open to the public during regular Thomas Balch Library hours through Feb. 29.