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Chickashaw Heritage Park -- Memphis TN
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 35° 07.360 W 090° 04.378
15S E 766736 N 3890568
Quick Description: Memphis TN was an important stop for Choctaw, Chickashaw, and Cherokee Indians as they were being removed from their home lands and relocated to the Oklahoma Indian territory.
Location: Tennessee, United States
Date Posted: 3/25/2015 2:19:01 PM
Waymark Code: WMNJY4
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Bernd das Brot Team
Views: 1

Long Description:
Chickashaw Park near the Mississippi River and I-55 in Memphis Tennessee preserves the Indian mounds of what once was a Choctaw Village. In 1832 Choctaw and Chickashaw Indians were brought here as they were being removed from their ancestral homelands in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

The Chickashaws left in November of 1832, enduring a brutal frozen start to their forced removal to Indian territory.

Today an evocative statue named "Legacies" stand at the place where the Chichashaw Indian Village once stood, and where thousands of members of other Indian tribes were gathered, before being loaded onto boats to cross the Mississippi River before going overland to Arkansas Post.

This evocative bronze statue is of a proud barefoot Chickashaw woman wrapped in a thin blanket, on which the date 1832 is inscribed. Around her body, in the folds of her blanket and on her tunic, are reliefs showing the progression of her people from huddled refugees back to a prosperous and proud people. Specific notable Chickashaws, African Americans and Hispanics who made a mark in Memphis are presented in relief along the bottom of her tunic, each with an item central to their notoriety.

More about this statue is found in a Memphis Daily News article: (visit link)

"Statues Give City Glimpse Of History"
By Dan Conaway

STANDING FOR HISTORY. She’s tall and proud, sole representative of an all-but-forgotten people, standing alone where hundreds once lived in a village, where thousands once thrived in a nation. She nobly bears the weight of the loss of all of that, wrapped in skins against the lonely chill of that, and in images of all that has come to pass since her time. Silently and beautifully, she tells her story.

She is Chickasaw. She is us.

In her skirts, a young W.C. Handy holds his trumpet, Hernando DeSoto rides his horse, a bluesman plays his guitar, Native American, African-American and Hispanic American history in Memphis play across the folds in bas-relief. Across her shoulders are the names of the Chickasaw villages, including the one that stood where she does in Chickasaw Heritage Park. Where Fort Assumption and Fort Pickering once stood. Where the Metal Museum forges imagination and the abandoned marine hospital is haunted by its own potential. Where the ceremonial mounds of her people stand sentinel over the father of waters. Where the neighborhood of French Fort lives.

She is a statue called Legacies, a gift to us all from UrbanArt Commission, and she’ll be officially dedicated in late June. She is the work of Vinnie Bagwell, a self-taught African-American sculptress whose vision charmed the selection committee and won the commission. That vision allowed her to see our rich heritage from her studio in Yonkers, New York, in ways we’re often too shortsighted to observe ourselves.

In college, one of my drive-by majors was art, and while absence of talent moved me on to other things, I was and remain fascinated by art history. Art doesn’t just show us, it tells us, moves us,

surprises, comforts and frightens us. The vision of one, shared with many. The inspiration of one, inspiring some, baffling others, challenging all. Art transports and transcends.

Statues are more than part of art history, they are history art, and Memphis has some beautiful public teachers.

Whether you believe Nathan Bedford Forrest was a Ku Klux Klan founder, a slave trader, or a great cavalry officer, facts are, he was all of those, part of history and part of us, and his equestrian statue is one of the finest examples of the genre anywhere. In Overton Park, The Doughboy still advances against tyranny and Boss Crump still greets you at the entrance in a truly great greatcoat. Our history and our storied dead are magnificently marked in an 80-acre sculpture garden called Elmwood. There are many more long-standing examples and, after a long absence and thanks to UrbanArt, an increasing number of new and intriguing ones are rising.

Visit Legacies and take your kids. See if you can figure out the imagery. Play on ancient mounds later serving as Civil War battery and magazine. See the big, sweeping turn in the river, feel the ghosts of long-settled conflict, and, if you have room, take me along.

I’m a Memphian, and our public art stands for us."

Another article courtesy of the Urban Art Commission features comments from the artist herself: (visit link)

"Legacies sculpture by Vinnie Bagwell dedicated in Chickasaw Heritage Park

November 1st, 2012
Two renowned University of Memphis authorities on Native American and African American history, Dr. Robert Connolly and Dr. Earnestine Jenkins, spoke at the October 25, 2012 dedication of New York artist Vinnie Bagwell’s new Legacies sculpture, designed to reflect the complex history of Chickasaw Heritage Park. Honored guests were Kirk Perry of the Chickasaw Nation and Dr. Nadim Karam, Memphis College of Art international visiting artist this October. The UrbanArt Commission in collaboration with the City of Memphis and the Riverfront Development Corporation hosted the event.

Located in Memphis' French Fort Community, the 17-acre, historically significant park features Native American earth mounds, historic markers, walking paths and scenic views of the Mississippi River. The sculpture references the history of Chickasaw Heritage Park, which includes the Chucalissa tradition, explorer Hernando DeSoto, Spanish settlers, Fort Pickering, and a settlement of former slaves. The park offers a quiet, relaxing refuge, whose walking paths crisscross the park, also providing access to the neighboring Metal Museum.

Vinnie Bagwell describes her Legacies sculpture as a work that “bequeaths future generations, with a glimpse of some of the rich history that revolves around the Chickasaw Native Americans, African Americans, and Hispanic Americans in Memphis. I have been inspired to weave some of these memories into my concept.” Bagwell, an African-American sculptor in upstate New York, won the national competition based on a series of successful public sculptures throughout the United States. Other commissions include Frederick Douglass Circle at the Frederick Douglass Museum and Cultural Center in Highland Beach, MD and at Hofstra University, as well as W.C. Handy The Father of the Blues in Westchester, NY."
Routes: Bell Route

Address if available:
Chickasaw Park
Memphis, TN


Additional Information: http://www.urbanartcommission.org/sites/298/uploaded/files/Legacies_ChickasawTimes_TomBolitho_1112.pdf

Marker Website: [Web Link]

Additional Coordinates: Not Listed

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Benchmark Blasterz visited Chickashaw Heritage Park -- Memphis TN 3/8/2015 Benchmark Blasterz visited it