NAAQC Events

Join us for the National African American Quilt Convention, a vibrant celebration of African American quilting, textile arts, and historical research that honors the legacy of notable figures in the fight for freedom during the Civil War and the Underground Railroad. This year’s convention features a series of enlightening events designed to educate, inspire, and foster a deeper understanding of African American history and culture.

Check back often for the most up-to-date list of events!

June 19th, 2024

Opening Reception + Research Panel Discussion

Delve into the rich history of the African American struggle for freedom with our research panel discussion. Held at the prestigious Black Archives of Mid-America in Kansas City, this event will feature esteemed historians and researchers unveiling new insights into the roles quilts and textile arts played in the Underground Railroad and the broader context of the Civil War.

The opening reception will highlight keynote speaker Diane Miller, former director of the National Park Service’s Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. We will also hear from Kansas State Representative Marvin Robinson’s as he performs a role call of the 91 African American Union Soldiers from Douglas County. Finally, Brenda Pitts will recount of the history of her great uncle John Anthony Copeland’s role as one of the 21 raiders who stormed the Federal Armory at Harper’s Ferry, VA.

June 20th, 2024

"Have You Heard the Call of the Ancestors?"

Dive deep into the heart of African American history and heritage with our featured talk, “Have You Heard The Call From The Ancestors?” at the Watkins Museum. This pivotal event focuses on heroic narratives of notable African American figures from the Civil War through Civil Rights and beyond, who fought valiantly for freedom and paved the way for future generations through their unwavering courage and sacrifice.

This talk aims to forge a deep, personal connection with our ancestors and promises to be a journey of discovery, reflection, and empowerment, celebrating the indomitable spirit of African American heroes of the past. Join us as we pay tribute to their legacy, learning from their stories to inspire our paths moving forward.

Featured Speakers include: Marla Jackson, Steve Nowak, Dr. Zanice Bond, Kimberly Love Radcliffe, Theresa Polley-Shellcroft Brenda Pitts, Marland Roberts, Veronica Mays, Jacqueline Johnson Renee, Fleuranges-Valdes. Click here to learn more about our speakers.

June 21st, 2024

Slave Quilt Presentation + Sankofa Book Signing

Witness a rare piece of history at the Spencer Museum of Art, where renowned quilter and researcher Marla A. Jackson will unveil a quilt made by an enslaved person in the 1800s. This presentation will highlight the craftsmanship, resilience, and creativity of African American quilters during slavery, offering a tangible connection to the past and a powerful reminder of the human spirit’s enduring strength.

Alongside the presentation, Marla A. Jackson will host a book signing for her acclaimed work, “Sankofa: Lessons Learned,” a coffee-table book featuring a collection of 22 portrait quilts created by Jackson which celebrate often overlooked heroes in American History.

Sankofa: Lessons Learned offers insights into the lessons of resilience, hope, and freedom embedded within the African American experience. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to engage with Ms. Jackson and discover the deep historical roots and contemporary relevance of African American quilting and textile arts.

In the words of legendary quilter and artist Faith Ringgold, “Quilts are Marla’s legacy and tell a history we can share with our children and with the word for generations to come.

June 22nd, 2024

Closing Reception - Healing Ceremony + Meal

Conclude the convention with a moving Closing Reception, where we will come together for an intergenerational healing ceremony followed by a meal provided by our partners at Sunrise Project. This event will honor the memories of those who fought for freedom and celebrate the resilience and contributions of African Americans throughout history. Through reflection, music, and shared experience, we will weave together the past, present, and future in a moment of collective healing and hope.