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This is a telling image during an era in which many Americans (and others) were illiterate.

I remember reading an essay on the hidden imagery of quilts. Some patterns of the 18th century had abolitionist symbolism. A slave, in seeing a quilt on a clothesline, would know which way was true north or whether the household would be sympathetic to his plight.

I wonder whether the map itself can be regarded as a roadmap of sorts to freedom.

What strikes me is that the slave, if he were able to hoist himself to the flag, would climb from red to white.

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