Smithsonian Magazine: The Blue That Enchanted the World
Say ‘indigo’ and most people know the color. The rich blue is a natural dye and traditional medicine across continents, cultures and civilizations, historically associated with agrarian women's economic empowerment. But in the U.S., indigo's history is tied to slavery: An 18th-century slaveholder’s daughter is widely credited with planting the first indigo seeds in South Carolina and making it a lucrative cash crop.
Today, women in the Lowcountry have revived indigo cultivation and dyeing, building a flourishing community of fiber artists and homesteaders. As South Carolina Artist-in-Residence Arianne King Comer described, “Indigo is the voice of our ancestors.”