When I say the name Harriet, who comes to mind? If you are like most black people in America, or even the world, really, you think of the General herself, Harriet Tubman, aka Araminta Ross. I wouldn’t blame you. She certainly left her mark on the history of this country.
Recently, however, I have come across another Harriet whose name rests in the annals of our country’s history. She was Athens, Ga., native Harriet Powers, one of the best known and most respected Southern African American quilters. I add all those qualifiers because the writers of our history books need those qualifiers to make themselves feel safe in their fake superiority. If you listen to those who know — quilters, artists, admirers — she was quite simply one of the best quilt artists our country has ever known.