In 1837, the 4th of July wasn’t a day of celebration for the 3,000 Chickasaw people gathered in Memphis that day. Instead, as part of the Great Removal under President Andrew Jackson, they were forced to gather their possessions and leave western Tennessee on what became known as the “Trail of Tears.”
Considered one of the “Five Civilized Tribes,” Chickasaw families followed the paths of other Indigenous peoples like the Creek, who had used Memphis as the transit point across the Mississippi River.
The Chickasaw Nation ultimately claimed new territory in Oklahoma, but their legacy still dots the Tennessee landscape.
– Carlisle Willard, Contributor