My ‘Say it loud I knit and I’m proud!’ Illustration references the song ‘Say it loud I’m Black and I’m proud” performed by James Brown and written with his bandleader Alfred “Pee Wee” Ellis in 1968.
I have noticed that there are not many images of Black women knitting in the media. I created this design as a statement, and to redress this situation. In a recent article in the Guardian ‘The Yarn Mission‘ a collective formed in October 2014 in response to the violence and police brutality in nearby Ferguson, Missouri discussed this issue.
At an academic conference on knitting, a delegate remarked to me that black women didn’t knit, they only did crochet, which is why there are no not many historic images of black women knitting. My family is from Jamaica, and I grew up with seeing crochet doilies like the one below being made and on display in front rooms of family and friends.
I can still remember the smell of Robin starch used to stiffen the doilies.
I remember my mum knitting when I was a child and she still knits today.
The earliest image I can find of a black woman knitting is from 1864. It is of Sojourner Truth abolitionist, suffragette, and an evangelist.