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9+ Works 1,013 Membros 34 Críticas

About the Author

Tiya Miles is Professor of History and American Culture at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is the author of The House on Diamond Hill: A Cherokee Plantation Story and The Cherokee Rose: A Novel of Gardens and Ghosts. Among other notable prizes and fellowships, she was awarded a MacArthur mostrar mais Foundation Fellowship in 2011. mostrar menos

Obras por Tiya Miles

Associated Works

The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story (2021) — Contribuidor — 1,409 exemplares
Listen Up: Voices from the Next Feminist Generation (1995) — Contribuidor — 586 exemplares


Conhecimento Comum



Tiya uses Ashley's bag to illuminate black history from South Carolina in the mid 1800s and beyond through five generations. I found the book very educational, though in some sections she circles around and around too much for my liking.
joyjannotti | 20 outras críticas | Feb 10, 2024 |
Beautiful story about modern descendants excavating the largely undocumented history of property owned by a mixed Indigenous/White slaveholder on a Georgia plantation in the pre-Civil War 19th century. Well written, although there were large sections of fictional journal entries that interrupted the narrative action and might have been better incorporated in smaller pieces. I won a galley proof copy of this paperback in a Goodreads giveaway. I would like to thank the author, Tiya Miles, and Penguin-Random House for sending it to me!… (mais)
bschweiger | 5 outras críticas | Feb 4, 2024 |
In 1921, a young woman named Ruth embroidered a message on a cloth bag, documenting its history. The bag belonged to Ruth’s grandmother Ashley, whose mother Rose gave it to her in the 1850s when, as enslaved people, they were forcibly separated. Ashley was just 9 years old; Rose packed the bag with items that would sustain her and remind her of her heritage. Years later, the bag turned up in a thrift shop and eventually found its way to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Historian Tiya Miles conducted extensive research to learn more about these three women and the sack passed down through the generations. The historical record offered very little about Rose and Ashley, although Miles was able to connect a few dots in the public record and develop a credible hypothesis about where they were enslaved. Where specifics were lacking, she used writings by and about other women of that period to bring Rose and Ashley to life. These personal narratives, describing living conditions, sexual violence, separation of families, and the economics of slavery, were emotional and compelling.

Miles also seeks meaning in the sack, the objects it contained, and Ruth’s embroidery. Unfortunately, this is all based on supposition. Did Rose have advance warning of her separation from Ashley, allowing her to thoughtfully pack a bag? Did Ruth design her embroidery, specifically choosing lettering and thread colors for impact? Or did both women simply use whatever was closest at hand? Miles gets carried away, turning every act into a pivotal moment in history, and loses credibility in the process. Despite this rather significant flaw, this was an interesting portrayal of the lives of women during eras of enslavement and early freedom in the United States.
… (mais)
lauralkeet | 20 outras críticas | Oct 22, 2023 |
This book had two main strengths for me. First, the idea of it; using a rare African-American family keepsake and the detective work around its origin as the basis for the whole study. Second, the way in which it brings home the horrors of slavery beyond our usual intellectual awareness of it by associating it with stories from the particular area where Ashley’s sack originated. On the other hand, the author’s often lengthy and florid prose, and her willingness to speculate about many different possible real and symbolic significances of every aspect of the sack and its contents (the textile used, the type of embroidery, the history of the pecan…) wore on me.… (mais)
markm2315 | 20 outras críticas | Jul 1, 2023 |



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