The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Culture Corner
—Books and Videos worth a look:

Nov 22, 2021

Book: “All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake,” 2021, a non-fiction book by renowned historian Tiya Miles. The author also wrote a history of slavery in the north called “The Dawn of Detroit,” 2017.

This national book award winner starts with a cotton sack that was on exhibit for years at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., and is owned by Middleton Place National Historic Museum in South Carolina. It is embroidered by a woman named Ruth, with a message that related how, in 1850’s South Carolina, this sack was given to Ruth’s grandmother, an enslaved woman named Ashley, by her mother Rose (Ruth’s great-grandmother), when Ashley was nine and about to be sold and separated from her mother forever. The author takes the heart-rending but meager facts of the embroidered message, and using historical records, documents, and autobiographies of the period, tries to find and trace these women’s lives.

Movie: “A Taxi Driver,” 2017, a Korean film, on Amazon Prime. It stars the incredible actor Song Kang-ho (from the movie Parasite). Set during the bloody Gwangju Uprising against the South Korean military dictatorship in the Spring of 1980, director Hun Jang’s “A Taxi Driver” delivers a powerful and heartbreaking, yet inspirational, true story. It is a Drama/History movie in which we watch a widowed father who works as a taxi driver driving a German reporter from Seoul to Gwangju in order to cover the 1980 uprising in which hundreds were massacred in a locked down city during a media blackout. The movie powerfully presents and combines the real footage of the uprising with the scenes of the movie. Though some melodramatic touches are added to the true story, the film successfully conveys the haunting courage of those involved.