By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal
BALDWYN – The Brice’s Crossroads Battlefield-Chief Tishomingo Scenic Byway is a path of history that blends stories of Native Americans, African-Americans and the Civil War.
Representatives of those groups and dozens of others participated in Friday’s dedication of the eight-mile route that includes almost two dozen interpretive signs to help visitors understand those links.
“This project has brought together so many people at the local, state and national level and we all want to preserve these historic places,” said Regina Berna, director of the Chickasaw National Museum and Historic Site in Tishomingo, Okla. Members of the Chickasaw Nation have already visited the historical marker and had a dedication there, she said.
Berna was joined by Brad Prewitt, an attorney who represents the local Chickasaw Nation.
He said cultural programs presented in schools this week, at the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitors Center and at other local sites are part of the local Chickasaw Nation’s efforts to promote understanding and preserve their local history.
Marker 17 designates the site where Chief Tishomingo lived before removal of Chickasaws along the Trail of Tears. The scenic byway also includes at Marker 14 the Bethel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, founded by former slaves, many of whose descendants are part of the current church. They were represented by the Rev. James Douglas Agnew, who delivered the program’s invocation.
Of course, most of the markers relate to the Brice’s Crossroads Battlefield, including Marker 10 at Bethany Historic Cemetery, site of a mass grave for about 30 Confederate soldiers.
Funding to interpret and install signage and markers along the byway came through the Mississippi Department of Transportation, and Northern District Commissioner Mike Tagart added his words of congratulation.