embroidered plants and leaves on the cover

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

by Tiya Miles Author

If you've ever been to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, you may have seen a rough, embroidered cotton bag in a display case. This bag, or Ashley's Sack, is so much more than what it initially appears to be. Passed down through the generations, from antebellum South Carolina to the present, this sack was the inspiration for historian Tiya Miles to unearth the people who passed this keepsake along. A gift from Rose to Ashley, and ultimately on to Ashley's granddaughter Ruth who embroidered it with the family history, Ashley's Sack is a testament to the power of relationships that would not allow slavery to destroy the love their family had for each other, and to the resourcefulness and resilience of these women. All That She Carried is a creatively narrated true story, made deeply personal and all the more profound through its connection to this still-present keepsake. A beautiful book, and a must read for scholars of Black history and American history.