Event to mark the installation of a bench honoring enslaved people and the legacy of Toni Morrison on Silver Comet Trail

The flyer for "Bench by the Road" with same info as in article

The Friends of the Concord Covered Bridge submitted the following news release about an event celebrating a bench that will be installed on the Silver Comet Trail in honor of novelist Toni Morrison:

The Friends of the Concord Covered Bridge, Cobb PARKS and The Toni Morrison Society invite the public to a special FREE in- person gathering at the Silver Comet Trail – Concord Road Entrance at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 18, 2024. This project aims to honor the legacy of Toni Morrison by installing a bench along the Silver Comet Trail in tribute to formerly enslaved and freed persons of Cobb County after the Emancipation Proclamation.

Toni Morrison, a Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize-winning African American author mused, “There is no place you or I can go, to think about…to summon the presences of or recollect the absences of slaves;…There is no suitable memorial or plaque or wreath…There’s no small bench by the road.”

“This is such an honor to be awarded the bench by the Toni Morrison Society. Outside of the statue at the Root House in Marietta, it will be the first significant acknowledgment of enslaved families who lived here,” says Pat Burns. Burns is a ‘Friends’ Board member and championed the project for the area.

While the bench will recognize all the previously enslaved people in Cobb County, the family of Matilda Ruff and her children, Calvin, Zieda and Rhoda who lived and worked in the now Historic District will be particularly named. She and her family were among the 3,819 enslaved in Cobb County, as recorded in the 1860 slave schedule and noted in the book, “First 100 Years,” by Sara Blackwell Gober Temple.

The Toni Morrison Society, founded in 1993 by Carolyn Denard, formerly a professor of English at Georgia State University and Emory University, launched the Bench by the Road Project “giving readers and scholars a reflective place to remember the enslaved, their forgotten lives, and Ms. Morrison’s writings.”

The Bench by the Road Project is the latest of several major contributions by the Friends of the Concord Covered Bridge Historic District, the small green-space surrounding the Bench will henceforth be known as Matilda’s Garden for everyone to experience a meditative peace.

Come, be a part of this meaningful initiative and pay tribute to a literary icon and to Matilda Ruff and her family, representatives of those African Americans after Juneteenth. Don’t miss this opportunity to be a part of something extraordinary.

The Concord Covered Bridge Historic District is Cobb County’s first historic district. Its covered bridge, mills, and houses are on the National Register of Historic Sites.

Media and the public may register on Eventbrite: https://fccbhdtonimorrisonbench.eventbrite.com/