Northeast America, ca. 1865. This important historical "document" ironically in the form of a utilitarian potholder was likely crafted by a freed slave, or a Northern sympathizer, soon after President Lincoln signed a Joint Resolution submitting the 13th Amendment to the states in 1865. The imagery of the jubilant dancing couple symbolizes slaves coming together rather than being torn apart and sold. This imagery debuted in abolitionist antebellum times when the focus was on the potential of slave liberation rather than the harsh reality of slave's lives, and during the Civil War was employed by Union women on pot holders to sell and raise money for bandages, food and other supplies for Union troops. Pre-13th Amendment dancing-couple images were accompanied by the expression "Any holder but a slaveholder". We's Free reflects that key moment in history when the hope of being free was transformed into reality. What further elevates this little potholder to importance is that it was a personal, hand-made work, not a manufactured piece, and by the fabric wear, indicating that the pot holder was not just for celebration yet also lived with as a recurring spirit lifter. About 6 inches square. A double-sided framing would protect the fabric and enable viewing on both sides..
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