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Quilt of Souls: A Memoir by Phyllis Biffle Elmore
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Quilt of Souls: A Memoir by Phyllis Biffle Elmore


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The Yellow House meets Hidden in Plain View in this multigenerational memoir that celebrates African American quilting, family, and honoring the past.

At age four, Phyllis Biffle Elmore was plucked off her front porch in Detroit and dropped on her grandmother Lula Horn’s doorstep in rural Alabama. Phyllis felt utterly abandoned until Grandma Lula showed her both all-encompassing love and her intricate “Quilts of Souls.” Phyllis listened intently as Lula told epic stories of folks who had passed on as she turned their clothing into breathtaking quilts for their families.

Grandma Lula’s generosity of spirit, strong will, and creative soul animate every page and through the quilts, she paints portraits of extraordinary Black women born before and after the Civil War. They are enslaved people, laundresses, storytellers, healers, and quilters whose stories have gone untold until now.

Beautifully written and brilliantly told, Phyllis weaves back and forth through time, piecing together true tales of racism, sexism, and colorism, but also strength and pride, creating a multigenerational patchwork honoring her family and ancestors. From the lush visuals to the powerful history, Quilt of Souls is oral tradition written and preserved for posterity.