“It was a cynical time, the Bicentennial. We were spiritually exhausted from the aftermath of an unnecessary war, the Watergate hearings, and revelations of our government’s cover up and conspiracy against its people.” ~Connie Young Yu, Patchwork History: The People’s Bicentennial Quilt
The People’s Bicentennial Quilt was made in response to the nostalgic quilts and other celebrations of the Bicentennial that continued to present American history through rose-colored glasses. The makers, a group of women from California, decided to celebrate the freedoms won in the 1960s and 1970s as a means of presenting history to the public from multiple viewpoints. Blocks on the quilt include celebratory times like the signing of the Declaration of Independence, but makers also depicted slaves being sold on the block, Chinese workers on the railroad, Japanese internment camps of World War II, and women fighting for suffrage and fair labor practices. Organizer of the project, Gen Guracar, wrote that by making a quilt, they were participating in a long tradition of women who had recorded their lives in their quilts.