Profile: Lucy Mingo (1931-)

Lucy Marie (Young) Mingo is an American quilt maker and member of the Gee’s Bend Collective from Gee’s Bend (Boykin), Alabama. She was an early member of the Freedom Quilting Bee, which was an alternative economic organization created in 1966 to raise the socio-economic status of African-American communities in Alabama. She was also among the group of citizens who accompanied Martin Luther King Jr. on his 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

Early life

Lucy Young was born in 1931 in Rehoboth, Alabama, a settlement near Gee’s Bend to Ethel and Earl Young. Her nickname is “Toot”.Her father was a sharecropper who also worked as a longshoreman in Mobile, Alabama which required him to be away from the family for long periods of time. Lucy and her siblings worked the fields growing corn, peas, potatoes, peanuts, and cotton to earn a meager living.

Mingo went to Boykin elementary school, and at age 13 was sent to the Allen Institute in Mobile. After graduation from Allen, she moved back to Boykin and married David Mingo in 1949, at age 17. She and David had ten children, seven of them daughters but only one of her children (Polly) quilts.

She is a fourth-generation quilter, with her mother, grandmother, and older close family friend all inspiring her and teaching her their art. She pieced her first quilt top at the age of fourteen

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