A Secret Code and the Underground Railroad at Thomas J. Lahey

A Secret Code and the Underground Railroad at Thomas J. Lahey photo

In honor of Black History Month, third-graders in Noreen Paccione’s class at TJL worked together to create a class quilt.

Students in Ms. Paccione’s class have been learning about the Underground Railroad and the contributions of African Americans throughout history. During their study, students learned about the creation of quilts, and how they were often used as maps on the Underground Railroad. Students discovered the different symbols used on the quilts, as well as their meanings—such as the wagon wheel, tumbling blocks, and the bear’s paw. Students were then taught the basics of sewing in order to make their own square to contribute to the class quilt.

“Only the people who used the Underground Railroad knew what the symbols meant,” said third-grader Jackie G., “it was like a secret code.”

In addition, students worked in groups to create squares that duplicated scenes from quilts made during that time period. Parents and loved ones visited the class on Jan. 31 to help sew all of the pieces together.

When finished, the quilt will be displayed at the district’s Black History Month celebration, and will be hung up for the duration of the month.