Brown Suitcase


The object I chose is a small brown suitcase that belongs to my grandmother. It used to belong to my great-great-grandmother, but she passed it down for my grandmother to use. Life was very hard in South Carolina America in the 1960s, especially for a young black woman. My family didn't have much money and it was incredibly hard for my grandmother to find a job that wasn't sharecropping or cleaning. Due to extreme injustice and prejudice, white people received all of the good, well-paying jobs. After having her first child, my grandmother decided to move to Brooklyn, New York at the age of 20 for better opportunities. She couldn't afford to buy luggage so my great-great-grandmother gave her her old suitcase. Its monetary value is very little. All of my grandmother's belongings fit into this one tiny suitcase. Once she came to New York, she lived with my great aunt and found a job in a factory making radio wires. Once she had enough money, she got her daughter from South Carolina, bought a house, had my mother, and was very well off. This suitcase and what it symbolizes means a lot to my family because it shows how my grandmother built herself up from rags to riches. Her bravery led to me, my mother, and my aunt to having a good education and many opportunities for success. Whenever I feel like giving up, I remember her story and it is a constant reminder that if I try hard, I can achieve anything. 

Place(s): South Carolina, New York
Year: 1966

– AP

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant