Research Papers

Rose’s Gift: Slavery, Kinship, and the Fabric of Memory



One of the most evocative objects in the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture is an embroidered cloth bag that has come to be known as “Ashley’s Sack”. Stitch-work on the bag, signed “Ruth Middleton”, recounts the bag’s painful history, as a gift presented by an enslaved woman, Rose, to her daughter Ashley, when Ashley was sold at age nine in South Carolina. This paper explores ‘Ashley’s sack’ as an object of history, memory, ritual action, and aesthetic creativity. 

  • Year: 2017
  • Volume: 8 Issue: 1
  • Page/Article: 1
  • DOI: 10.5334/pp.78
  • Submitted on 30 Jul 2016
  • Accepted on 29 Dec 2016
  • Published on 3 Mar 2017
  • Peer Reviewed