The image below is a flour sack, several inches of it rolled up as it is a few feet long. It seems it was used as a sort of make-shift suitcase by a little girl named Ashley when she was sold away from her mother, Rose, to another slave master at 9 years of age.
Apparently, Rose had enough time to pack her daughter a few things in this flour sack before she was taken away. Her grand daughter would embroider their story on the sack years later in 1921.
For some reason, I always imagined little black children being taken away suddenly, in the middle of the night or snatched away while the mother was deep in some field. I thought of black children as being stolen in a more literal way. I guess I didn't allow myself to have a stronger sense of what a white person owning you feels like.
Being owned is hard to imagine in a three dimensional way, isn't it?
"We are selling your daughter. Say your goodbyes."
How do you go on living after that?
There's a little more information here at the link below. But I must warn you that the first sentence is annoyingly ignorant. It says, "We don’t know why the master decided to sell the 9-year-old girl."
But sure we do.
We do know the reason the white man (or white woman) decided to sell a 9 year old girl away from her mother. He was either punishing the slave(s) or he needed the money.
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The Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture is due to open in the Fall of 2016. We'll be able to see the sack in person soon!