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In a display case in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture sits a rough cotton bag, called Ashley’s Sack, embroidered with just a handful of words that evoke a sweeping family story of loss and of love, passed down through generations. In 1850s South Carolina, an enslaved woman named Rose gave this sack filled with a few precious items to In a display case in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture sits a rough cotton bag, called Ashley’s Sack, embroidered with just a handful of words that evoke a sweeping family story of loss and of love, passed down through generations. In 1850s South Carolina, an enslaved woman named Rose gave this sack filled with a few precious items to her daughter, Ashley, as a token of love and to try to ensure Ashley’s survival as well. Soon after, the nine-year-old girl was separated from her mother and sold. Decades later, Ashley’s granddaughter Ruth embroidered this family history on the bag in spare yet haunting language—including Rose’s wish that “It be filled with my Love always.” Now, in this illuminating, deeply moving new book inspired by Rose’s gift to Ashley, historian Tiya Miles carefully unearths these women’s faint presence in archival records and draws on objects and art, to follow the paths of their lives—and the lives of so many women like them—in a singular and revelatory history of the experience of slavery, and the uncertain freedom afterward, in the United States. All That She Carried is a poignant story of resilience and of love passed down through generations of women against steep odds. It honors the creativity and fierce resourcefulness of people who preserved family ties even when official systems refused to do so.


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In a display case in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture sits a rough cotton bag, called Ashley’s Sack, embroidered with just a handful of words that evoke a sweeping family story of loss and of love, passed down through generations. In 1850s South Carolina, an enslaved woman named Rose gave this sack filled with a few precious items to In a display case in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture sits a rough cotton bag, called Ashley’s Sack, embroidered with just a handful of words that evoke a sweeping family story of loss and of love, passed down through generations. In 1850s South Carolina, an enslaved woman named Rose gave this sack filled with a few precious items to her daughter, Ashley, as a token of love and to try to ensure Ashley’s survival as well. Soon after, the nine-year-old girl was separated from her mother and sold. Decades later, Ashley’s granddaughter Ruth embroidered this family history on the bag in spare yet haunting language—including Rose’s wish that “It be filled with my Love always.” Now, in this illuminating, deeply moving new book inspired by Rose’s gift to Ashley, historian Tiya Miles carefully unearths these women’s faint presence in archival records and draws on objects and art, to follow the paths of their lives—and the lives of so many women like them—in a singular and revelatory history of the experience of slavery, and the uncertain freedom afterward, in the United States. All That She Carried is a poignant story of resilience and of love passed down through generations of women against steep odds. It honors the creativity and fierce resourcefulness of people who preserved family ties even when official systems refused to do so.

30 review for All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley's Sack, a Black Family Keepsake

  1. 5 out of 5

    Raymond

    A very interesting book about a grain/seed sack and three Black women who persevered in America. One of the challenges of Black history is that there are alot of things we do not know because of the lack of records. If only we had time machines. When records did not exist, Miles had to speculate what might have occurred between Rose and Ashley based on what we know about slavery from other historical records and studies. The sections of the book that I found most interesting was Miles's coverage A very interesting book about a grain/seed sack and three Black women who persevered in America. One of the challenges of Black history is that there are alot of things we do not know because of the lack of records. If only we had time machines. When records did not exist, Miles had to speculate what might have occurred between Rose and Ashley based on what we know about slavery from other historical records and studies. The sections of the book that I found most interesting was Miles's coverage of the items (dress, pecans, hair, and love) that Rose put in Ashley's sack and their possible significance based on what they meant to enslaved people. Overall good book, fans of Black history, genealogy, and family heirlooms will enjoy it. Thanks to NetGalley, Random House, and Tiya Miles, for a free ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. This book will be released on June 8, 2021.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    So what I wanted from this book was not what was being offered. That is my fault and please accept my review and rating in that framework. I wanted the story of three women who were connected through a seemingly inconsequential piece of material. Instead, the sack is used as a framework to present the life of an enslaved person. Broad generalities were used and a lot of assumptions were made and I felt the view being portrayed became a bit romanticized. Not that Ms. Miles presented a life of won So what I wanted from this book was not what was being offered. That is my fault and please accept my review and rating in that framework. I wanted the story of three women who were connected through a seemingly inconsequential piece of material. Instead, the sack is used as a framework to present the life of an enslaved person. Broad generalities were used and a lot of assumptions were made and I felt the view being portrayed became a bit romanticized. Not that Ms. Miles presented a life of wonder for these people, but by assigning significance and intent to certain actions, the reader gets what may be an inaccurate view. But again, this goes back to needing to make broad assumptions due to the lack of historical information regarding people who were brought here against their will and forced to support the economy of the privileged. Thanks to Random House for a copy of the book. This review is my own opinion.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kasa Cotugno

    Ashley's Sack is a simple bag originally made to house seeds. Constructed in, possibly, the 1840's, it has gained significance as a display in the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, a symbol of the lives of enslaved women, and the proof of a mother's love. Much of the history of the Sack is speculation in that Rose, Ashley's mother, cannot be personally identified due to the lack of records, but Rose represents millions of women who were not considered by thei Ashley's Sack is a simple bag originally made to house seeds. Constructed in, possibly, the 1840's, it has gained significance as a display in the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, a symbol of the lives of enslaved women, and the proof of a mother's love. Much of the history of the Sack is speculation in that Rose, Ashley's mother, cannot be personally identified due to the lack of records, but Rose represents millions of women who were not considered by their owners as other than property, thus being cruelly separated from their families. Ashley however held onto that Sack, and as a grandmother herself, inspiring Ruth, her granddaughter, to embroider the words that have set this article apart, noting that it was packed with a tattered dress, handful of pecans, braid of Rose's hair, and her mother's love. Much about history of slavery (hard to read throughout), the importance of pecans, needlework and even hair. Quite a few illustrations, some lovely, many disturbing. No matter how much I read about this subject, it never fails to shock, sadden, and anger me.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sahitya

    This was such a poignant book. We live in a society where we give lots of importance to materialistic things, so it’s fascinating to explore how a single such item can convey the traumatic history of a whole group of people. While talking about how a single bag was passed down through generations, the author manages convey to us the horrors of enslavement, how the lives of enslaved women were for decades, and how difficult it was for them to even own something, let alone pass it down, when they This was such a poignant book. We live in a society where we give lots of importance to materialistic things, so it’s fascinating to explore how a single such item can convey the traumatic history of a whole group of people. While talking about how a single bag was passed down through generations, the author manages convey to us the horrors of enslavement, how the lives of enslaved women were for decades, and how difficult it was for them to even own something, let alone pass it down, when they themselves were considered property. Add to it the fact that families were separated very often, it’s truly a story of resilience that the author narrates to us here. Very compelling and engaging read and I would definitely recommend to readers who would love to read books about African American history from different perspectives.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Emily Hewitt

    I received this book as part of a Goodreads giveaway. I give the book 3.5 stars but rounded up to 4 stars in my rating. My reasoning for not giving 4 or 5 stars is that in certain points of the book I thought the author was a bit repetitive and was almost rambling. That being said, Tiya Miles does an excellent job telling the story behind a historical object, successfully bringing not just Ashley’s sack to life but also the stories of thousands of enslaved people across the United States. In 21s I received this book as part of a Goodreads giveaway. I give the book 3.5 stars but rounded up to 4 stars in my rating. My reasoning for not giving 4 or 5 stars is that in certain points of the book I thought the author was a bit repetitive and was almost rambling. That being said, Tiya Miles does an excellent job telling the story behind a historical object, successfully bringing not just Ashley’s sack to life but also the stories of thousands of enslaved people across the United States. In 21st century society we are so obsessed with “things” and owning physical items. To think this sack and the items inside were some of the only items an enslaved mother could pass on to her daughter is simultaneously heartbreaking and fascinating. Miles does an amazing job exploring who Ashley may have been, how her descendants might have lived post-Civil War, and how and why the objects in the sack are so important. Through researching and imagining Ashley’s story, Miles is able to tell a broader story about slavery as a whole that is both unique and profound.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    This is one of those books that will stay with you, turning over in your mind, with bits and pieces resurfacing at unexpected times. The meditative approach makes this feel much less "academic" while maintaining scholarly rigor. Aka non-academics will like this too! It also contributes to this process of the book returning in fragments. The introduction was a bit off-putting for me, but once the focus turned to the subject itself - a sack owned by an enslaved woman that once held a dress, pecans, This is one of those books that will stay with you, turning over in your mind, with bits and pieces resurfacing at unexpected times. The meditative approach makes this feel much less "academic" while maintaining scholarly rigor. Aka non-academics will like this too! It also contributes to this process of the book returning in fragments. The introduction was a bit off-putting for me, but once the focus turned to the subject itself - a sack owned by an enslaved woman that once held a dress, pecans, and her mother's love - the meditative approach fit perfectly. Like many here, I learned a lot about pecans, and many other things. But I also put together knowledge that had been oddly separate in my head that these new pieces illuminated even more. For one example - Yes, I knew that enslaved people were given the worst cloth to use for their own clothes, and often not enough of it. Many used homespun that the enslaved people had to make themselves. I knew that cotton on plantations was for export, often to the North, and that then the finished cloth was sold in the South and elsewhere. How had I not considered the market forces in clothing the enslaved, the existence of a "negro cloth," and how that parallels with things like prison uniforms? If you dont have similar background knowledge, Miles effortlessly guides you, but there is still something here for those familiar with much of the material. Academically speaking, in addition to those studying antebellum America, enslavement, etc, etc, this is great material for a discussion of history as memory and memory as history, a methods class, how to use methods from other fields as a historian (art history for a start), negative spaces in the record, gender history, and so many more.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    A truly remarkable book that will remain with me for a long time. The story of Ashley's sack is about a homespun fabric artifact, a mother's love, and a historian's search as she faces the "conundrum of the archives" (history favors those with power/money, white/male) to tell this story. As the author takes us through the researched, "probable lives" of the Middleton family, the reader grapples with the continuous trauma of enslaved women and children, ripped apart from each other on the sale bl A truly remarkable book that will remain with me for a long time. The story of Ashley's sack is about a homespun fabric artifact, a mother's love, and a historian's search as she faces the "conundrum of the archives" (history favors those with power/money, white/male) to tell this story. As the author takes us through the researched, "probable lives" of the Middleton family, the reader grapples with the continuous trauma of enslaved women and children, ripped apart from each other on the sale block or daily plantation life and the present and constant danger of abuse of all types. I was drawn to each discussion of the bag's contents and the reminder that mothers, no matter their circumstances, are compelled to provide for their children. This is a tremendous book, I wish i had seen the sack when it was on display at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in D.C.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Katina

    Bought this in Charleston. I wish I had read it before my visit to South Carolina for its wrenching and important examination of the atrocities of slavery and how the slave economy shaped the state, its politics, its architecture, etc. This is a poignant and brilliant book combining environmental and art history. It examines a singular, fascinating artifact and uses it to expose gaps in the archives and tell an untold story. As a crafter and needleworker, I loved the insight into how the women w Bought this in Charleston. I wish I had read it before my visit to South Carolina for its wrenching and important examination of the atrocities of slavery and how the slave economy shaped the state, its politics, its architecture, etc. This is a poignant and brilliant book combining environmental and art history. It examines a singular, fascinating artifact and uses it to expose gaps in the archives and tell an untold story. As a crafter and needleworker, I loved the insight into how the women who passed this bag along and transformed it over time with the work of their hands, managed to use limited materials available to them to carry their love forward and preserve their story. I also learned a whole lot about pecans. Fascinating.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    This was an approach to narrative and material culture unlike anything I’ve read before. Engaging and insightful.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Macke

    As others have mentioned, this book is many things at once and so it feels like a complicated read and is a bit disjointed ... it doesn't fit nicely into a category, which points to my flaw in wanting to categorize ... the story is about slavery and the tragic problem of bringing respect and honor to the slave life when there is virtually no mechanism for preserving the existence and memory of that life ... the author tries, through Ashley's sack, yet huge gaps are filled with conjecture and gue As others have mentioned, this book is many things at once and so it feels like a complicated read and is a bit disjointed ... it doesn't fit nicely into a category, which points to my flaw in wanting to categorize ... the story is about slavery and the tragic problem of bringing respect and honor to the slave life when there is virtually no mechanism for preserving the existence and memory of that life ... the author tries, through Ashley's sack, yet huge gaps are filled with conjecture and guesswork ... it's a personal-feeling work that is to be respected

  11. 4 out of 5

    Emi Bevacqua

    This book is hard to classify, it isn't historical fiction, it's not exactly case study, but it is definitely profound, excellently researched, and well-written. It reminded me a little bit of the Hare with the Amber Eyes, in that a work of artisanal craftsmanship is studied minutely and its painful relational history expounded upon. The black family keepsake, Ashley's sack, is lovingly examined here and its journey is imagined based on a mass of factual information surrounding a matrilineal lin This book is hard to classify, it isn't historical fiction, it's not exactly case study, but it is definitely profound, excellently researched, and well-written. It reminded me a little bit of the Hare with the Amber Eyes, in that a work of artisanal craftsmanship is studied minutely and its painful relational history expounded upon. The black family keepsake, Ashley's sack, is lovingly examined here and its journey is imagined based on a mass of factual information surrounding a matrilineal line from Rose to Ashley to Ruth. I love that author Tiya Miles incorporates her own family's history in the beginning, and then expertly goes on to incorporate multiple examples of archival textile artefacts she calls "mythohistories," from quilts to dresses and needlework, including beautiful photographic inserts. But don't mistake this for a compendium of cultured feminine lady-arts, Miles pulls no punches discussing white supremacist rule or whimsy, and other Anti-Black associated factors that "would take two more centuries to tighten and fully mature into the zealous arguments of nineteenth-century scientific racism and the vehement policies of twentieth-century American Jim Crow." This is a book about a sack, but it's also about feminism and the strength of women, and America's brutal racist history. Thank you to NetGalley for the Kindle ARC, it will be published by Random House 8 June, 2021.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany Brookshire

    While I appreciate the intensive research that went into this book, I can't help but feel some of the conclusions drawn are based on scant evidence and cannot be presented as fact, which I felt to be the case on many of the pages in this book. The issue of evidence--or lack thereof--is what does truly make Ashley's sack incredible. That it survived through generations of slavery, civil war, migration, and lifetimes is remarkable, miraculous even. However, and I recognize I have neither the creden While I appreciate the intensive research that went into this book, I can't help but feel some of the conclusions drawn are based on scant evidence and cannot be presented as fact, which I felt to be the case on many of the pages in this book. The issue of evidence--or lack thereof--is what does truly make Ashley's sack incredible. That it survived through generations of slavery, civil war, migration, and lifetimes is remarkable, miraculous even. However, and I recognize I have neither the credentials nor the expertise to make these claims with anything other than my own limited knowledge of Civil War era artifacts, I felt at times some of the parallels drawn were presumptuous. I suppose that it would be impossible to write an entire book about one remarkable artifact without some potentially erroneous conclusions, but for me personally, those attempts diminished the scholarly work. After reading the essay on the writing of the book, I recognize that a grant was provided for this research, with the expectation that some sort of public work reaching a large audience would transpire. It makes sense then, that this book would attempt to draw conclusions when there is no evidence to do so and to try to find meaning when there is little context. As a scholarly project, I was disappointed. As a narrative on the heartbreak of enslaved mothers and the desperation they must have felt for hundreds of years, I was reminded again of the horrors inflicted upon millions of people. It's hard to know how to review a book such as this.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Marcia Miller

    Meticulously researched, lovingly analyzed, dramatically written, this astonishing social history of the lives of enslaved Black women in the American South was revelatory, painful, and ultimately uplifting. Tiya Miles comes across a humble fabric sack that once held a few items secretly passed along by a distraught but powerful enslaved woman, Rose, to her 9-year-old daughter, Ashley, just before the daughter was sold away. Alone and frightened, young Ashley somehow survives and manages to crea Meticulously researched, lovingly analyzed, dramatically written, this astonishing social history of the lives of enslaved Black women in the American South was revelatory, painful, and ultimately uplifting. Tiya Miles comes across a humble fabric sack that once held a few items secretly passed along by a distraught but powerful enslaved woman, Rose, to her 9-year-old daughter, Ashley, just before the daughter was sold away. Alone and frightened, young Ashley somehow survives and manages to create a life of her own. Years later, the sack is embroidered with a "caption of memory" done my Ruth Middleton in 1921--the granddaughter of Ashley. Miles and her research team have painstakingly stitched together bits of public records, oral histories, and known practices of the times to reconstruct--to the best of their abilities--a plausible, heart-breaking, and empowering story of this particular keepsake and its significance to the family and to Black cultural history. This enormous undertaking results in an examination of the far broader, deeper, and richly human trait of creating, preserving, and honoring links to one's family history, which was especially challenging for enslaved persons whose value was regarded as purely financial. Miles humanizes these courageous, practical, talented, and ragtag families as she reveals even more painful stories so often overlooked by historians.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nann

    In the 1850's Ashley, a 9-year-old enslaved girl, was sold. Her mother Rosa gave her a cloth sack that contained "a tattered dress, three handfulls of pecans, and a lock of Rosa's hair." We know that because in 1921 Ashley's granddaughter Ruth Middleton embroidered the story on the sack. The sack was discovered at a flea market some 20 years ago and was given to Middleton Plantation, a historic site in South Carolina. Scholar Tiya Miles uses each element -- the sack, the contents, and the women In the 1850's Ashley, a 9-year-old enslaved girl, was sold. Her mother Rosa gave her a cloth sack that contained "a tattered dress, three handfulls of pecans, and a lock of Rosa's hair." We know that because in 1921 Ashley's granddaughter Ruth Middleton embroidered the story on the sack. The sack was discovered at a flea market some 20 years ago and was given to Middleton Plantation, a historic site in South Carolina. Scholar Tiya Miles uses each element -- the sack, the contents, and the women who possessed it -- for a full recounting of the economic, social, and political milieu of slavery and plantation culture. "The story of the bag and of their family ripples out like salted waves off the coast of Lowcountry, South Carolina, flowing into the histories of African America and the United States of America....this story cloth captures the emotional texture of Black women's lives during and after slavery, and reveals the staying power of love across time..." (p. 292) I came for the textiles and stayed for the explication. (Truly, a story based on fabric spins out into history.) "All That She Carried" is an outstanding example of material culture scholarship.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Malia

    This book is an astonishing piece of scholarship. With an artifact that had ultimately very little known about its provenance, the author was able to find a great amount of information. But more than that was the deep investigation into the significance of each aspect of the artifact, the sack itself, the practice of embroidery, what the items inside the sack would have meant to enslaved (or unfree as the author often calls them) people, as well as the setting of South Carolina during the histor This book is an astonishing piece of scholarship. With an artifact that had ultimately very little known about its provenance, the author was able to find a great amount of information. But more than that was the deep investigation into the significance of each aspect of the artifact, the sack itself, the practice of embroidery, what the items inside the sack would have meant to enslaved (or unfree as the author often calls them) people, as well as the setting of South Carolina during the historical period when the sack would have been given from mother to daughter. It's an incredibly moving, thorough, and thought-provoking tribute. While it can be very difficult to read about the horrors of slavery, I think this book does a fantastic job of demonstrating how being witness to a horrific story can be the loving act that helps lift people up. It's what the sack itself represents. I would count this as required reading for people who like to read about textiles and handicrafts. ***Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an ARC in exchange for my honest review.***

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sara Broad

    "All That She Carried" by Tiya Miles is the history of a family of Black women that is centered around a bag that passes through the line of women. Upon learning that she was being sold, Rose quickly packs a survival bag for her daughter, Ashley, which contain an array of items that are larger in significance than how they might appear in our everyday lives. The bag ultimately makes it way to Ruth and is inscribed with an important message that highlights the trauma around the bag's origins and "All That She Carried" by Tiya Miles is the history of a family of Black women that is centered around a bag that passes through the line of women. Upon learning that she was being sold, Rose quickly packs a survival bag for her daughter, Ashley, which contain an array of items that are larger in significance than how they might appear in our everyday lives. The bag ultimately makes it way to Ruth and is inscribed with an important message that highlights the trauma around the bag's origins and its passage through time. Miles' extensive research brings the reader into the exact frame in which this bag was packed and Rose and Ashley were separated. Miles' research allows for a thorough historical analysis of each item in the bag and their connection to the lives of enslaved women in the pre-Civil War South. This book is really fascinating.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Don

    Releases 6/8/2021, I read an advanced copy. How do you tell the story of a woman who it’s only listed on inventory list as chattel? Rose is an enslaved woman who realizes her daughter is about to be sold off from the plantation and that she would likely never see her again. She gives Ashley a sack with a few precious items and that is their last connection. Ashley‘s granddaughter later embroiders the story on the sack. Decades later it is found bundled with rags in a thrift store. This is not a Releases 6/8/2021, I read an advanced copy. How do you tell the story of a woman who it’s only listed on inventory list as chattel? Rose is an enslaved woman who realizes her daughter is about to be sold off from the plantation and that she would likely never see her again. She gives Ashley a sack with a few precious items and that is their last connection. Ashley‘s granddaughter later embroiders the story on the sack. Decades later it is found bundled with rags in a thrift store. This is not a novel, the story is told through meticulous research and educated assumptions. Miles does an amazing job applying to gather whatever else she can find and illustrating it with pictures and documents.

  18. 5 out of 5

    S.T.

    This book was chosen by someone in my book club, and although I was initially interested in the idea of what the book was to be about, I was ultimately disappointed in the actual book itself. First of all, it is not a novel. It is more of a textbook in how it reads, and because of this, was a real struggle to complete. It is very academic in tone, and at times the sentence structure was rather esoteric. I found myself stopping, rereading the sentence I had just read, and figuring out what the au This book was chosen by someone in my book club, and although I was initially interested in the idea of what the book was to be about, I was ultimately disappointed in the actual book itself. First of all, it is not a novel. It is more of a textbook in how it reads, and because of this, was a real struggle to complete. It is very academic in tone, and at times the sentence structure was rather esoteric. I found myself stopping, rereading the sentence I had just read, and figuring out what the author was saying. Thus, it’s beyond my grade level of a master’s degree + 30 credits. There is no doubt that this book is well-researched, well written (albeit beyond me), and a valuable source of information, but I think the intended audience is not your average reader, like me.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Libby

    Tiya Miles uses a found object, an embroidered flour sack, to chronicle a riveting history of South Carolina's plantation economy and the inhumanity it generated. She creates a vivid picture of the life of an enslaved person in Charleston. The hints given on this object touched by 3 generations of women provide the author, a gifted historian, enough information to make them real to the reader. "Rose, a visionary; Ashley, a survivor; and Ruth, a storyteller" (p. 231) Miles doesn't let Rose fade i Tiya Miles uses a found object, an embroidered flour sack, to chronicle a riveting history of South Carolina's plantation economy and the inhumanity it generated. She creates a vivid picture of the life of an enslaved person in Charleston. The hints given on this object touched by 3 generations of women provide the author, a gifted historian, enough information to make them real to the reader. "Rose, a visionary; Ashley, a survivor; and Ruth, a storyteller" (p. 231) Miles doesn't let Rose fade into the margins when relaying information found in plantation owners' records - the only source of information that can possibly be gleaned for glimpses of Rose. This is a phenomenal candidate for high school summer reading lists anywhere in the country, but especially the southern states.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jessica - How Jessica Reads

    This is a fantastic book! My full review will come later for Shelf Awareness... but it blew me away in making me think in different ways about tactile possessions and how rare and valuable they would have been for enslaved Black people. The fact that this cotton sack was handed down through a family for 60-odd years is incredible, when, as the book says, "African American things had little chance to last. This is a painful lesson learned by family historians and museum curators. How could people This is a fantastic book! My full review will come later for Shelf Awareness... but it blew me away in making me think in different ways about tactile possessions and how rare and valuable they would have been for enslaved Black people. The fact that this cotton sack was handed down through a family for 60-odd years is incredible, when, as the book says, "African American things had little chance to last. This is a painful lesson learned by family historians and museum curators. How could people who were property acquire and pass down property?" (p 265)

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tom Johnson

    I don't want to say anything critical about this book; it was written with the noblest intent. The storyline was gripping. 'The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism' was a stronger and better book at revealing the extreme cruelty of chattel slavery. 'The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family' by Annette Gordon-Reed was also "better". Of course the nature of both those books could rely on a greater amount of documentation. 'Carried' took on an extremely a I don't want to say anything critical about this book; it was written with the noblest intent. The storyline was gripping. 'The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism' was a stronger and better book at revealing the extreme cruelty of chattel slavery. 'The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family' by Annette Gordon-Reed was also "better". Of course the nature of both those books could rely on a greater amount of documentation. 'Carried' took on an extremely ambitious task.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Meg Ulmes

    DNF. I had high hopes for this book, but after slogging my way through 20 plus pages of dry as toast introduction and the first fifty pages of the actual book, I realized that I might as well be sitting in a college professor's lecture. I've read well-crafted, interesting historical non-fiction. This isn't it. There's a great story here I'm sure, but it is buried under academic language that stifles any interest that I had in reading about these generations of women. It's a damn shame. Take a pa DNF. I had high hopes for this book, but after slogging my way through 20 plus pages of dry as toast introduction and the first fifty pages of the actual book, I realized that I might as well be sitting in a college professor's lecture. I've read well-crafted, interesting historical non-fiction. This isn't it. There's a great story here I'm sure, but it is buried under academic language that stifles any interest that I had in reading about these generations of women. It's a damn shame. Take a pass on this one.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    This is a meticulously researched history of a flour sack and it's travels between 3 African American women during slavery. Because there are so few personal accounts and records of enslaved people, the author made some generalities and assumptions when it came to specifics which I found disappointing. I respect her choice because the bigger picture is slavery, specifically SC's plantation economy. It portrays the horrors and cruelty of the black folks and their resilience very realistically. Tha This is a meticulously researched history of a flour sack and it's travels between 3 African American women during slavery. Because there are so few personal accounts and records of enslaved people, the author made some generalities and assumptions when it came to specifics which I found disappointing. I respect her choice because the bigger picture is slavery, specifically SC's plantation economy. It portrays the horrors and cruelty of the black folks and their resilience very realistically. Thanks to net galley, the publisher and author for the ARC of this book. 3.25

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ivy

    I haven't totally finished All That She Carried. I don't currently have the time to dedicate as much consideration and focus as I want to for this history. I'm intrigued by the differences in the history telling, the story and reliance on emotion as a critical element of understanding who women are historically, and appreciating the position we've placed them in through the failures of our record keeping. I want to learn more about the historical context of this artifact and the women it held to I haven't totally finished All That She Carried. I don't currently have the time to dedicate as much consideration and focus as I want to for this history. I'm intrigued by the differences in the history telling, the story and reliance on emotion as a critical element of understanding who women are historically, and appreciating the position we've placed them in through the failures of our record keeping. I want to learn more about the historical context of this artifact and the women it held together in love. I'll come back to it!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Hey Craig look at history looking at the content that surrounds the historical event or artifacts. A great looking at his stories/her story perspective. Very lyrically written. Easy to read and follow along looking at a story in the contacts of the times that it was occurring. Looking at houses and cities that were built using enslaved peoples labor and native Americans labor or indigenous peoples labor. Looking at it it in these terms changes how you look at those antebellum homes and plantatio Hey Craig look at history looking at the content that surrounds the historical event or artifacts. A great looking at his stories/her story perspective. Very lyrically written. Easy to read and follow along looking at a story in the contacts of the times that it was occurring. Looking at houses and cities that were built using enslaved peoples labor and native Americans labor or indigenous peoples labor. Looking at it it in these terms changes how you look at those antebellum homes and plantations.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kendra

    This is an outstanding work of material history that traces a single handcrafted item from its origins to its location today, providing astute and important commentary along the way in regard to human rights, the history of the Americas and enslavement of people, the lives of enslaved women and free women, and what we can learn by following this item back in time. I highly recommend this--it makes an excellent companion piece to 400 Souls.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Helena

    Interesting…. So much is not known about the personal lives of black slave women. This book explores their lives and heartbreaking loss of children, family and of course safety and freedom through archival material. Scholarly and very detailed exploration into the meaning of these artifacts. Reads like a dissertation. For example a lengthy explanation of the difference between “object” and “thing”. I admire the focus and intelligence of the author.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    Carefully researched, thoughtfully written, and extremely moving, this book examines “the space between the stitches” on a cloth sack that was passed from mother to daughter when they were separated during slavery, and that was shared between several generations of Black women before arriving in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History

  29. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    A book that will stay with me, in part due to its exploration of the importance of textiles in the lives of so many women, including those like the enslaved who had so little. Learned a lot about the lives of those enslaved in different parts of the South, which - as a northener - I had lumped together. A beautiful book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cory Margul

    I had a lot of difficulties keeping my attention on the story with the way she told it sadly. Such an interesting era full of amazing people that never had a chance to tell their story - but this one was not for me. I listened about 50% for about 90 minutes before realizing I needed to select a different book in the same genre

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