Quilts (or) How Urban Legends Are Born.
1989: "Stitched from the Soul" published, a book about African-American quilters during the slavery era, based on family stories and oral traditions. There is no documented proof of quilts having been used for Underground Railroad purposes.
1989: Deborah Hopkinson hears a story about an exhibition featuring African American quilters which inspires her to write a fictional children’s book entitled "Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt." (A fictional children’s book with a fictional quilt)
1999: "Hidden in Plain View" published, loosely based on the above mentioned fictional children’s book and from conversations with Ozella McDaniel Williams—an African-American who owned a quilting store in Charleston, S.C. ($$$)
And so the story grew, but many of the images publicized as being used on the quilts date from the 1900’s. Examples: the monkey wrench wasn’t invented until 1858, the double wedding ring dates from the 1920’s, "Sue Bonnet" dates from the 1930’s, "Bear’s Paw" wouldn’t be much help, since the bear population was decimated by the 1820’s.
A research grant to study slavery and the Underground Railroad in Kentucky inspired, "A Promise Moon." I alluded to, or drew inspiration from my findings as I wrote my latest novel which is set during the Civil War.