Kathleen ’Kat’ D. Lindsey
African American Historian
Kathleen ’Kat’ Lindsey is an African American historian who uniquely combines her talents of quilting and storytelling in theatrical appearances throughout the East, Midwestern and Southern States, bringing historical knowledge and awareness concerning Black History to all nationalities.
After completing her education, she was employed at the Clayton Elementary School district. For ten years Ms. Lindsey worked as teacher’s assistant for the reading department and four years as a teacher’s aide with handicapped and mentally challenged, kindergarten - high school students. She became very interested in literacy for young children, thus taking courses to improve her writing skills.
During a span of twenty-five years, quilting and storytelling was a favorite pastime for Kat, who merged the two skills and used them as visual aids and learning tools.
Most recently, Kat, as she is preferred to be called, used an old family recipe Sweet Potato Pie that was passed down for generations as the theme title for her prize-winning quilt. The Sweet Potato Pie Quilt has been admired by thousands of school children and adults since 1996 and is featured in the back of her children’s picture book called, Sweet Potato Pie, published by (Lee & Low Books) in September of 2003.
One of her latest efforts is being performed at Gloucester County College called Run Faredy Run. Run Faredy Run is about a young slave girl and her little sister travel the road to freedom by way of The Underground Rail Road. Faredy, as she is called, was given this special name by her father. He promises that when the family reaches freedom he will reveal the true meaning of her name. Her father is sold farther South and later her mother is sold as well. Without hope, Faredy is left alone to care for her sister until she gets a visit from the Ole Shoofly, the plantation messenger. Faredy remembers all the coded quilts, songs, and words she learned at the slave quilting’s and through her bravery and the knowledge of the Underground Rail Road, she and Rosie begin their perilous flight to freedom.
Just as her ancestors created diaries on quilts to depict special events in their lives, Kat continues that legacy. With knowledge and interest of African-American history, she successfully spawned a stage presentation called, Seven Quilts for Seven Sisters present “A Stitch in Time.” Their show was televised on various cable stations and a nationally known documentary program called “Visions.” The sister’s play has captivated listeners for 16 years in 16 States.
Serving for two years as president of a local quilting guild, Needle Little Love, she began to expand her skills in communities, teaching quilting in craft stores, libraries, schools, churches, and community centers. Quilting took on a new perspective when Ms. Lindsey was featured in Good Housekeeping Magazine, January of 1996.
In 1988, after the death of her son, she worked with many families through the organization, M.A.D.D., Mothers against Drunk Driving. As a volunteer for Gloucester County Chapter of Victims, she gave lectures on the dangers of driving while under the influence to families, groups of D.U.I. offenders, and High School students. She used her quilting as a sharing experience to cope with the loss of loved ones. Together, with members of the Gloucester County Chapter of M.A.D.D., they designed a quilt to represent the victims. This quilt is displayed at many conferences and formal presentations given by M.A.D.D.
Many of her pictorial quilts are shown in her presentations and were on display in various colleges In New Jersey, Middle Atlantic, and New England State museums and libraries.
Press releases have given special attention to Kat’s quilting and storytelling. To name a few are: The Philadelphia Inquirer, Gloucester County Times, Atlantic City Press, The Camden Courier, The Sunbeam, and other local and regional newspapers. For the past sixteen years she’s given presentations for TV documentaries, colleges, churches, schools, (pre- Kindergarten to 12th grade), and various historical societies.
Ms. Lindsey was a subject of Rutgers University, in Newark, New Jersey, where a student wrote her thesis on quilting and how Kat’s life was parallel to that her African ancestors.
In 1996, Kathleen gave a performance for Philadelphia’s Overbrook School for the Blind, an experience that she will always treasure. In addition, she has presented her program to the Commissioner of Education in Trenton, NJ.
One of Kat’s most prized winning achievements was to pose for a 70-foot high mural in Philadelphia, on the Old I. Goldberg building, in Center City Philadelphia. This mural depicted the famous Underground Rail Road conductor Harriet Tubman. It was an honor to be chosen to pose as this famous historical leader.
In January 2004, she received a Proclamation from the Mayor and Borough Council of Clayton, N.J., and was honored for her numerous community achievements.
In August of 2006, Kat was featured in, Dollhouse Miniature Magazine where she designed a miniature room box that depicts the kitchen in her children’s book Sweet Potato Pie.
April 2008, Miss Kat along with her sisters, were featured in the Christian Chronicle Magazine
As author, her tours have included some of the following States: Chesapeake, Norfolk, Va. Beach, in VA, Delaware, Philadelphia, New Jersey and Mississippi, where she was given a Four Star certificate of appreciation from the University’s President and staff members.
Kat Lindsey’s Quilts are on display at the Gloucester County Art Gallery until March 3, 2011. Please treat yourself to this incredible artform and par of our American history. Kat is another GEM that is found in our wonder county of Gloucester.