• When: 17 June 2024
  • Time: 8.00 PM - 10.00 PM
  • For who: Adults
  • Register: tickets via the button below

Join us as we look deep into African American history through the eyes of one family and ask questions about the importance of storytelling and resilience to set the historical record straight. 

This event will be held in English. 

Moderator: Jennifer Tosch 
In collaboration with John Adams Institute, U.S. Embassy The Hague, Fulbright Commission the Netherlands & Singel Uitgeverijen 

Earlier in the day, we will organize a conference where researchers and museum professionals from the United States and the Netherlands will present recent work that investigates how to look at and present history, especially when dealing with interwoven and even painful histories and legacies. You can read more about the conference proceedings here

From Harvard historian and author Tiya Miles comes the National Book Award winner, All That She Carried. Blending first-class historical research and literary creativity, Miles traces Ashley’s Sack through the ages, and with it, the story of a Black family during slavery, and of a people and a nation. She not only delves into the historical archive, but also imagines the journey of Ashley’s Sack when the trail seemingly runs cold, writing Ashley and her descendants back into history as an act of justice.  

The result is a powerful narrative where Ashley’s Sack becomes more than an object alone: it is transformed into an embodied memoir of Black women travelling from slavery to freedom, from South to North, carrying relics and hopes as they seek new lives. 

Tiya Miles 

Tiya Miles is the Michael Garvey Professor of History and Radcliffe Alumnae Professor at Harvard University and a recipient of the MacArthur ‘Genius Grant’. She is both an historian and creative writer whose work explores the intersections of African American, Native American and women’s histories in the context of place. 

All That She Carried 

In South Carolina in the 1850s, an enslaved woman named Rose gives a simple cotton bag to her daughter Ashley. Ashley is about to be separated from her mother, sold as chattel to the highest bidder. The bag contains all her worldly possessions, and precious reminders about her family. 

“In a display case in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture sits a rough cotton bag. “Ashley’s Sack” is embroidered with a handful of words that evoke a sweeping family story of loss and love passed down through the generations.”