How a former slave gave a quilt to Queen Victoria

By Penny Dale BBC Africa

Image copyright Penny Dale
The quilt has been recreated by Martha Ricks’ family (Photo Credit: BBC

(BBC NEWS) – The two women, of a similar age, greeted each other warmly, shaking hands and smiling. One was the most powerful woman in the world – the other had been born into slavery.

It had taken more than 50 years for Martha Ann Erskine Ricks of Liberia to finally fulfil her life-long dream. And her encounter with Great Britain’s Queen Victoria was extraordinary in many ways.

Extraordinary because it made such an impression on the queen that she wrote about it in her daily journal; because it was so warm; and because it happened at all.

The queen and the farmer met in Windsor Castle on Saturday, 16 July 1892. Martha Ricks took with her a present of a satin quilt, embroidered with a coffee tree in full bloom, complete with red and green berries.

“At home, when a poor man comes to visit us on our farm, he never comes without some little present,” Martha Ricks explained to the London-based newspaper, the Pall Mall Gazette, a few days after the meeting.

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Sources: BBC News Online

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About Cholo Brooks 17465 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.