April Aune Shipp's Strange Fruit quilt honors racial crime victims and is on display at The Carr Center in Detroit this February 2015
"I call them my 5,000 souls," says quilter April Aune Shipp. "I never had the courage to count the names."
For three years, Shipp researched and embroidered the documented names of African-Americans who were lynched and murdered from reported racial crimes in each state from 1865 to 1965. The result is Strange Fruit-a 12-pound quilt measuring 10 feet long and 10 feet wide.
"I did this quilt in loving memory of my people, people I have never met … people whose names are not only woven into the fabric of the quilt, but also into the fabric of my heart," says Shipp, who was moved to create the quilt after seeing a photo of a mother and son lynched.
During February 2015, in honor of Black History Month, the quilt will be on display at The Carr Center in Detroit, where Shipp invites the public to face the harsh realities of African-American history, and for some, reconcile with family history.
"I hope people can have closure," Shipp says. "They are gone but not forgotten. This is the way I chose to memorialize them."
The Carr Center functions as a cultural hub of African and African-American education, programs and activities supported by the Arts League of Michigan.