Birmingham Public Library Gallery Hosts African American History Makers Quilt Exhibition

image of quiltFiddler, a quilt depicting Louis Gossett Jr.'s role in the TV miniseries Roots

“Stitch your stress away,” is a quote that quilter Aisha Lumumba has taken to heart. Many hours of hard work are visible in the more than 20 quilts depicting noted African Americans currently on display in the Fourth Floor Exhibition Gallery at the Birmingham Public Library. This exhibition includes likenesses of President and Mrs. Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and the late Billie Holiday. Each piece reflects the textile artist’s heritage and interest in history. The African American History Makers Quilt Exhibition opened January 3 and runs through February 24 at the Central Library located at 2100 Park Place.

As a youngster, Lumumba sewed and created art projects with fabric. She learned quilting by watching elders stitch colorful cloth swatches together; she began her first quilt as a teenager. With more than 25 years of experience working with textile arts, Lumumba strives to capture the musical rhythm of the colors, designs, and texture of the pieces she creates. “I want my quilts to tell a story and maybe even sing,” Lumumba states.

Now residing in Atlanta, Lumumba is a native of McDonough, Georgia. She is a member of The Brown Sugar Stitchers Quilt Guild, the Ebony Stitchers Quilt Guild, Black Artists in America, and African Americans for the Arts. Her quilts are in the private collections of President and Mrs. Obama, Ambassador Andrew Young and The Atrium on Sweet Auburn.

The mission of Birmingham Public Library is to provide the highest quality library service to our citizens for life-long learning, cultural enrichment, and enjoyment. This system—with eighteen locations and serving the community for 125 years—is one of the largest library systems in the southeast. For additional information, visit the website at