Born in 1931, Lucy Mingo descends from several generations of quiltmakers, including her mother, Ethel Young, and grandmother, Nellie Pettway. Like many Gee’s Bend quiltmakers, she likes to work with discarded clothes, preferring the feeling of their softer hues and textures. Mingo envisions her transformations of old clothing into quilts as a metaphor for surviving hard times. In her words,
You know, we had hard times. We worked in the fields, we picked cotton, and sometimes we had it, and sometimes we didn’t. And so you look at your quilt, and you say, “This is some of the old clothes that I wore in the fields. I wore them out, but they’re still doing good.”
During the civil rights era, Mingo became one of Gee’s Bend’s leading spokespersons, marching with Martin Luther King, Jr. across the river in Camden and the march from Selma to Montgomery. “No white man gonna tell me not to march,” she declared. “Only make me march harder.”
Lucy Mingo’s work is in the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Currier Museum, and the Baltimore Museum of Art.
Learn more about Lucy Mingo here