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

Tiya Miles

It is easy to see why Tiya Miles’ ALL THAT SHE CARRIED won the National Book Award for nonfiction. Although clearly an academic text, it is imbued with so much love and care I got lost in its pages easily. Miles’ writing is top notch, and pushes back against the thought that academic text should be completely objective. She accepts that there is no such thing, and why should there be? When talking about human lives, especially those that had their life taken due to the shackles of enslavement shouldn’t we do all we can to restore their record and honor them? They deserve that and so much more. This is a book filled with tenderness and such careful attention to detail. I think about it all the time. From the importance of handed down objects to the spirit of Black motherhood, this is a nonfiction book I highly recommend. I reflected on the quilt my grandma made for me. Something I cherish deeply, but now see in a completely new light of appreciation. The jewelry my father made when he was in San Francisco has also taken on new meaning.

Sidenote: While most of it is easily accessible, there were some parts that were a challenge to get through, so please keep in mind that yes this is a meticulously researched text, and do not let that deter you. It is unlike anything I have read, and I personally love that Miles dives DEEP into all topics that surround Ashley’s sack (she even tries to grow her own pecan plant and shows us detailed pics, it even comes with RECIPES!!!), but just know that going in so you can prep your brain a bit, because it WILL get stretched. I learned so much reading this, and have already found myself going back to reread certain passages.

[ID: The books ALL THAT SHE CARRIED: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake by Tiya Miles rests against plants outside.]

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All That She Carried The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake by Tiya Miles
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