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All That She Carried

All That She Carried

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ALL THAT SHE CARRIED is a story about women, mothers and daughters, who chose the profundity of love over dehumanizing conditions. How much can one bag hold? Ashley’s Sack a rough cotton bag, given by an enslaved woman named Rose to her daughter, Ashley, before their forced separation, reveals one object’s capacity to hold onto history and to keep love for generations. Ashley’s granddaughter, Ruth, inherited the sack and embroidered it with just a handful of words that evoke her family’s sweeping story of loss and of love. It reads:

My great grandmother Rose

mother of Ashley gave her this sack when

she was sold at age 9 in South Carolina

it held a tattered dress 3 handfuls of

pecans a braid of Roses hair. Told her

It be filled with my Love always

she never saw her again

Ashley is my grandmother

Ruth Middleton


Building on Ruth’s words, 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.

: Tiya Miles
Publisher: ‎ Random House (June 8, 2021)
Language‏: ‎ English
Hardcover: ‎
416 pages

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