Historic Markers Across Tennessee

The Trail of Tears ~ Nunahi-Duna-Dlo-Hily-I "The Trail Where They Cried"

Marker ID:  
Location: the intersection of Stadium Street and South Rhodes Street, Pulaski, TN
County: Giles
Coordinates: N 35° 11.731    W 087° 1.762
  35.19551666    -87.02936666
Waymark: None


"The Trail Where They Cried"

This sculpture is a small piece of theater, a tableau to engage the spectator in the heartbreak of the Cherokee walking west on the two routes of the Trail of Tears that crossed in Pulaski. Fear, suffering, survival, and resolve are expressed within the postures and facial expressions of each human being. The young girl tugs the mother's sleeve, pleading to go home. Her dog stops to sense if they will return. The weary mother is torn between the girl's longing and the future of the baby. The man, barefoot and in tattered clothes, walks westward with dignity and the determination to survive. The trail is rough and pitted with the ruts of wagon wheels, hoof prints and footprints of others. The footprints on the trail were made by casting the actual footsteps of two Cherokee people.

Artist Gail Bergeron and Pamela Keller, both professors of art at Athens State University, entered the story of the Cherokee removal by their ties to Giles County. Both artists relocated to Giles County by choice. The history of this town became their story, too. They spent eight years researching, fund-raising and designing this sculpture before a metal armature (skeleton) was created of each figure. Then, the artists spent 350 hours adding clay to the armatures to form the figures. When completed in clay, a mold was made, taken to a foundry in Georgia and poured in bronze.

"Imagine yourself in the place of these travelers, and then educated yourself enough to realize we should never cross these paths again." Gail Bergeron

"Artist used their gifts to interpret experiences held in common among people throughout time, telling the stories of other to help the story live on. We remember that they were here. With this bronze memorial we honor the collective human spirit that strives to become a more just and equitable society." Pamela Keller


More information:
Wikipedia: Trail of Tears