Tuesday, July 07, 2009

New Book! - This I Accomplish: Harriet Powers' Bible Quilt and Other Pieces

Wanted to share with you news of my new book! This I Accomplish: Harriet Powers' Bible Quilt and Other Pieces.

During the last two years, I've had such an adventure challenging what we think we know about Harriet Powers (1837 – 1910) and her two known quilts (The Bible Quilt at the Smithsonian - and the Pictorial Quilt at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston). You know that Mrs. Powers offered to sale her Bible Quilt to Jennie Smith for $10. Miss Smith, though, only had $5. But, did you know that there was ANOTHER woman who also wanted to buy the Bible Quilt?

This I Accomplish highlights nearly a dozen SIGNIFICANT new pieces of information about Mrs. Powers and her quilts.... including the lost 1882 Lord's Supper Quilt! Or, how IOWA plays an important part of Mrs. Powers' story. Yes, IOWA! Did you know that we might not know about Mrs. Powers' Pictorial Quilt at the MFA if the outcome of a 14 year adulterous affair and three year legal battle had gone the other way?!?

Along the way, you'll also read about other nineteenth century Athens, GA black women in Mrs. Powers' community who quilted! You'll read about other needle arts on display at the 1895 Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta as well as the great Negro Day at the fair, where more than 30,000 African Americans from across the country came to celebrate the displays in the Negro Building, where the Bible Quilt was on display.

Finally, This I Accomplish illustrates proof that Mrs. Powers was a literate, award-winning quilter, who stitched at least FIVE quilts and stood up for herself as an artist! In the course of the research, in a file no one thought about in decades... was a copy of a letter FROM Mrs. Harriet Powers!! Can you imagine - a letter from an ex-slave who writes about her artwork! If you are an artist or quilter, you MUST read what she writes!

The book is 180 pages, $19.95 and includes about 20 pictures. Bill Gaskins wrote the foreword. ISBN: 978-0-9824769-5-0. There's an extensive annotative bibliography, fun timeline, and more! I hope the clues in the book can help us find the Lord’s Supper Quilt – or one of the other lost Powers quilts! There's also a mystery waiting to be uncovered in Alabama, but you'll have to read the book to find out more about this! This I Accomplish is available on Amazon.com or by special order at your local bookstore. You might also ask your local library to order it. I hope you enjoy This I Accomplish! Best, Kyra E. Hicks


Rachel said...

Congratulation Kyra!
This is an Accomplishment. I can't wait to get my copy. I have always thought that there was more to her than 2 quilts. Thanks for doing more than just thinking.

Anonymous said...


Congratulations on finishing this project. It will forever be a milestone publication in quilt studies. In the words of the young people, you go girl!


Kyra said...

Rachel and VacaPat,

Thank you both very much. So excited for Mrs. Powers and for what folks will learn about her in "This I Accomplish".

Best, Kyra

Unknown said...

Thanks for the announcement, and congratulations on all of your great work! I'll look forward to learning more from your project.

Caroline Cargo
Robert Cargo Folk Art Gallery

Karoda said...

My sister wrote me today that she has ordered her copy! I've been carrying it around with me showing it to anyone and everyone who stands still!

This weekend I'm turning off the computer, the tv, and I'll be reading your book! Such an outstanding contribution to scholarship that I can't wait to read your future books!

Kyra said...


What a wonderful note! Thank you. I hope both you and your sister enjoy Mrs. Powers' story. I'm excited by the new information and the collective power we have in uncovering even MORE insights - and potentially her quilts!

Love, Kyra

Unknown said...

I'm not a quilter, however, I truly am proud of the time, talent and energy that you have put into documenting the history of quilters ... especially those quilters of African descent. I will share information about your new book with my online network...

peace, Villager (your brother!)

Sarah said...

Congratulations, Kyra!! I can't wait to read it!
Sarah, formerly of UMCP

viridian said...

I'm going to get a copy of the book. Congratulations.

Bquiltin said...

Wonderful, great, will read soon.

Morna Crites-Moore said...

Best wishes for success with your new book. I Just posted about it at my Facebook Fan Page:

Anonymous said...
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Delbra said...

Congradulations Kyra!!!
I just read your article in the Quilters Newsletter - Dec/Jan edition. What a wonder article. The information invites you to seek more about Harriet Powers. Looking forward to owning a copy of your book.


Anonymous said...

I saw you as a guest on Sewing with Nancy and was so touched by the story of Mrs. Powers and the exquisite art she created. Thank you for illuminating this great story.
Friendly Blog Visitor

RitaMarie said...

Yes Kyra, I too saw you on Sewing with Nancy. I was very interested to hear Harriet's story - only $5 for that beautiful quilt! I am looking forward to reading your book. Congratulations on your accomplishment.

Kyra said...

Rita Mae,

Thanks for the note. Hope you enjoy This I Accomplish!

Carrie P. said...

congratulations! on this book. I saw you on Sewing with Nancy and the story sound so fascinating.