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Adairsville • Cassville • Cartersville • Euharlee •
Kingston • Lake Allatoona • Summer Hill

North Public Square

The Bench by the Road Project is a memorial history and community outreach initiative of the Toni Morrison Society. The Project was launched on February 18, 2006, on the occasion of Toni Morrison's 75th Birthday. The name "Bench by the Road" is taken from Morrison's remarks in a 1989 interview with World Magazine where she spoke of the absences of historical markers that help remember the lives of Africans who were enslaved and of how her fifth novel, Beloved, served this symbolic role:

"There is no place you or I can go, to think about or not think about, to summon the presences of, or recollect the absences of slaves . . . There is no suitable memorial, or plaque, or wreath, or wall, or park, or skyscraper lobby. There's no 300-foot tower, there's no small bench by the road. There is not even a tree scored, an initial that I can visit or you can visit in Charleston or Savannah or New York or Providence or better still on the banks of the Mississippi. And because such a place doesn't exist . . . the book had to" (The World, 1989).

Because the Toni Morrison Society wanted to be a place where scholars and readers could, through their engagement with Morrison’s novels, remember not only slavery but also many of the forgotten moments in African American history, the Society chose, when it was founded in 1993, “A Bench by the Road” as its motto. The Bench by the Road Project extends the Society’s mission. While there have been several notable African American history and slavery museums built since 1989, as well as a number of outstanding state and federal initiatives honoring the stories of the African American past, the goal of the Bench by the Road Project is to address the lament that Toni Morrison expressed in her interview by placing Benches and plaques at sites commemorating significant moments, individuals, and locations within the history of the African Diaspora. Since 2006, the Toni Morrison Society has placed 20 Benches at sites, including Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina; Walden Woods in Lincoln, Massachusetts; The 20th Arrondissement in Paris, France; Fort-de-France, Martinique; and, most recently, the Schomburg Center in Harlem, New York. (

This site is the 27th Bench by the Road Project endorsed by The Toni Morrison Society.



African American

Heritage Trail

Bartow County, Ga

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