J. Janice Coleman gives speech at the seventh annual Sweat Equity Investment in the Cotton Kingdom Symposium
Dr. J. Janice Coleman, professor of English at Alcorn State University, was one of the keynote speakers at the seventh annual Sweat Equity Investment in the Cotton Kingdom Symposium Friday, Nov. 2 at Mississippi Valley State University in Itta Bena, Mississippi. The theme of the symposium was, “Grandmama’Nem and the Wisdom They Shared: A National Dialogue.”
The title of Coleman’s paper was, “Cotton Sack Wisdom from Grandma Alice and Other Women of the Mississippi Delta.” Her presentation focused mostly on a quilt that she made named, “Quilt from Grandma Alice’s Scraps,” which is a tribute to the memory of her grandmother who was nearly 102-years-old when she died in November 2010.
According to Coleman, her grandmother’s wisdom was intertwined with the life that she led, and her longevity was evidence of her great store of knowledge. Coleman captured that wisdom in two traditional quilt patterns—the Pinwheel and the Rob-Peter-to-Pay-Paul—that are reflected on the top side of the quilt and in her grandmother’s biography that she hand-stitched on the quilt’s backside.
Coleman said that she chose to speak mainly about the quilt to show others that there are many ways to pass down family history from one generation to another, and that stitching stories of the lives of others is just one creative way to do it.
A native of Mound Bayou, Mississippi, Coleman exhibited other items from her patchwork art collection, “Quilts and Other Quadrilaterals.”