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 5-6

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 5 Summary: “The Auction Block”

Charleston was a city with an infrastructure in place that supported and perpetuated the slaveholders sustaining and fueling its growing economy. Enslavers, especially those in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, had a believed that they possessed a measure of gentility in their self-justified treatment of those they enslaved. Charleston had a facility, known as “The Work House,” to which enslaved people could be sent, for a fee assessed to their enslavers, to undergo corporeal punishment on their enslaver’s behalf. This “service” provided the opportunity for these enslavers to maintain mythologies about themselves as beneficent paternal heads of household by allowing them to outsource their cruelty. Martin’s Charleston household, despite its architectural beauty and cushy opulence, was a veritable prison. Robert Martin’s house, like most enslaver homes in Charleston, was a walled fortress. These palatial homes evoking the beauty and grandeur of European elegance often featured broken glass and spikes at the tops of their brick perimeters, discouraging attempts at escape and establishing the privacy required for the continued abuse of enslaved Black people within the walls of these homes.

Ashley was sold to the Midlands region of South Carolina. This can be ascertained because her child and grandchild were living in Columbia, South Carolina, after the Civil War.