Born in St. Louis.

On this day in 1906, world-famous dancer, singer and actress Josephine Baker (Freda Josephine McDonald) was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Baker, who ran away from home to dance in vaudeville and on Broadway at age 13, was the first African American woman to star in a major motion picture (Zouzou, 1934). Baker moved to Paris in 1925 and there became one of the best-known entertainers in France and Europe. Baker died in 1975, two days after her last performance in Paris.

Noted quilt historian, Cuesta Benberry of St. Louis, made this quilt top with the help of Annette Ammen, Lois Mueller and George Ammen (Annette’s husband), who drew many of the designs. Each block signifies something of importance in African American women’s quiltmaking experiences.

Cuesta Benberry’s son donated this quilt, along with the rest of Benberry’s quilt ephemera collection, to the Michigan State University Museum when she passed away in 2008.

View this quilt on The Quilt Index to find out! Read more about its history, design and construction. Be sure to use the zoom tool for a detailed view or click the “See full record” link to see a larger image and all the data entered about that quilt.


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Amy Milne headshot

Posted by Amy E. Milne
Executive Director, Quilt Alliance

This entry was posted in On this Day in History Quilts series and tagged , , , by quiltalliance. Bookmark the permalink.

About quiltalliance

The Quilt Alliance is a nonprofit 501c3 organization established in 1993 whose mission is to document, preserve, and share our International quilt heritage by collecting the rich stories that historic and contemporary quilts, and their makers, tell about our nation's diverse peoples and their communities. In support of this mission, the Alliance brings together quilt makers and designers, the quilt industry, quilt scholars and teachers, and quilt collectors to further the following goals: To promote the understanding of the quilt as an important grassroots art form. To make information about quilts available to a broad public. To educate the public about the importance of documenting quilts and quiltmakers so that their stories will not be lost.

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