In the late 1830s an event unparalleled in American history began to take shape.
From their homes in Georgia, all of the Cherokees in the state were removed and forced to relocate their homes, families and communities to a vastly different land in what was called “Indian Territory” to the west of Arkansas.
An estimated 16,000 Cherokee were forced at gunpoint to make this trek that became known as the Trail of Tears. Throughout the winter months of 1838 and 1839, the Cherokee were forced to travel overland – through Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas.
They had to cross rivers and streams – including the mighty Mississippi – and more than 4,000 Cherokee died from the exposure and conditions along the trek.
This summer, however, a group of descendants of the Cherokee who made that infamous trek across the country retraced that route, riding bicycles from Georgia along the original route to Oklahoma.