GOLCONDA - A new sign will be unveiled at 1 p.m. Wednesday (9/22) in Pope County (IL) to identify the original historic roads of the Trail of Tears and allow the public to follow the actual route.
The sign unveiling ceremony will take place at the intersection of Illinois 146 and Homberg Road, about three miles west of Golconda. Community members, including students, are invited to the ceremony.
A number of local, state and federal officials will attend the ceremony, along with Cherokee Nation Principle Chief Chad Smith and Cherokee Nation Supreme Court Justice Troy Poteete, Also attending will be Jack Baker of Oklahoma City, Cherokee Nation councilman and president of the Trail of Tears Association National Board of Directors.
This official Trail of Tears National Historic Trail sign unveiling ceremony will recognize the first and longest signed original historic trail segment on the Trail of Tears. Although many of the original roads of the Trail of Tears have disappeared, there are many places like the historic road in Pope County that have survived.
"Marking this 8 1/2 mile stretch of original route of the Trail of Tears gives the American public an opportunity to walk in the footsteps of the Cherokee, who traveled this stretch of road during their tragic removal in the 1830's, and helps all Americans to confront and understand a period of our history that many of us perhaps have tried to forget," said Aaron Mahr, superintendent of the National Park Service Trails Office, which administers to the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.
For more information, email Sandy Boaz, president of the Illinois Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was taken from the Southern Illinoisan, Friday, September 17, 2010