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 3-4

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 3 Summary: “Packing the Sack”

At the time of Robert Martin’s death, the expulsion of Indigenous people from their homelands had facilitated the expansion of the plantation system in a southwesterly direction. To supply the labor required to sustain these relatively recently established properties, traffic in the domestic slave trade was heading to the interior of South Carolina and Georgia, as far as Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Missouri. These interior plantations were notorious for their harsh and horrifying conditions and for the brutality of their overseers, even against the contemporary backdrop of a culture that normalized the enslavement of other human beings.

Tens of thousands of enslaved people from the upper south and coastal zones were moved to the interior southwest on long and grueling journeys under the supervision of slave traders who had no regard for the individuals under their captivity apart from the monetary value of their sale. Young women and girls were frequently subjected to physical and sexual assaults by these “middlemen” along their transport. The enslaved people along these routes carried rough-hewn “tow sacks,” bags containing their few personal possessions, and Rose would have been familiar with the fact that people carried their property with them on these long treks.