Editorial: The Trail of Tears — When a great nation commits a great wrong
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Sep 26, 2013 | 2308 views |  0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Many people feel the history taught in public schools and celebrated in communities should highlight the successes of a nation and its people. At the same time, the history being highlighted should avoid as much as possible the dark side of the national experience.

Thus, nations throughout the world have rewritten their histories to make themselves look good while reducing their misdeeds to insignificance.

The United States has seen its share of “feel-good history” and people who promote it, but we have also seen people and communities acknowledge wrongs and set the record straight.

One such event is taking place Saturday when the Alabama Trail of Tears Memorial will open at 2829 West Meighan Blvd. in Gadsden.

The teaching of how Native Americans from northeast Alabama and northwest Georgia were rounded up and forced to travel overland to Oklahoma has evolved over time. It has gone from history books and history teachers treating it as if it were an incidental part of a generally benevolent Indian policy (“move the Indians away from whites to a place where they will be safe”) to the more recent acknowledgment that this was an illegal land grab by the United States and the states affected, and that the result was nothing short of a national tragedy.

The Gadsden Trail of Tears Memorial (alabamatrailoftears.org) brings into focus what actually took place. It is a first for Alabama and one of the largest Trail of Tears memorials along the route.

The organizers, some of them descendants of Indians who fled to the mountains to avoid being sent west, have added events and demonstrations to the ribbon-cutting ceremony, so those who attend will be entertained while they are educated.
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