44 pages 1 hour read

Tiya Miles

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

Nonfiction | Biography | Adult | Published in 2021

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Chapters 1-2

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 1 Summary: “Ruth’s Record”

In 2007, at a flea market in a suburb of Nashville, an eBay reseller came upon a sack in a bundle of assorted antique textiles. Recognizing the potential significance of the object, she purchased the lot for approximately $20. Her subsequent internet searches led her to the Middleton Place Foundation, the present-day name adopted by the organization that operates Middleton Place Plantation. The Middletons, whose descendants were still involved in the administration of Middleton Place at the time of the publication of All That She Carried, date their presence in South Carolina to the late 17th century, having amassed wealth through slavery beginning 100 years before the American Revolution. Middleton Place is nestled in the heart of the South Carolina Lowcountry, the southeastern region of the state comprising most of its coastline.

Early planters populated this rich landscape beginning in the 1660s, with permission to settle granted by King George of England, who had presumed ownership of the “new” world. These colonists followed a model of exploiting slave labor first honed in Barbados under the brutal conditions on sugar plantations that maximized both material profits and human suffering. Enslaved people were forcibly transported to colonial South Carolina, joining the Indigenous residents of the region, who were also forced into human bondage by European colonizers.