The Reconciliation Quilt

January, 2014

The Reconciliation Quilt

Lucinda Ward Honstain

Brooklyn, New York
Dated 1867

In the quilt’s blocks, Lucinda Ward Honstain reveals intimate details of her family's life—a young woman riding a black horse may represent Honstain’s daughter, Emma. A male figure dressed in dramatic fashion in a Zouave-inspired military uniform may represent Honstain’s husband. Honstain’s red brick Brooklyn home is portrayed in the center of the quilt, with an American flag flying and the yard teeming with a variety of farm animals.

Honstain’s quilt also expresses the social and political identity of Brooklyn in 1867. Specific images refer to the Civil War: a powerful image of a black man facing a white man half his size proclaims “Master, I am Free.” Another reads “Jeff Davis and Daughter,” referring to the legendary reunion of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States, and his daughter after his imprisonment. These blocks represent hope for the reconciliation of the Northern and Southern states after the war.

In 2013, The Reconciliation Quilt was displayed at Homestead National Monument as part of the year-long celebration of the Homestead Act’s 150th Anniversary.