December 14, 2016
In the southern most park on the Memphis Riverfront, Chickasaw Heritage Park, stands a sculpture named “Legacies” by Vinnie Bagwell. The black sculpture of a woman serves as recognition of the multicultural community that created and currently represents Memphis. The piece’s details depict this interwoven story of our region.
“The sculpture bequeaths future generations with a glimpse of some of the rich history, which revolves around the Chickasaw Native Americans, African Americas, and Hispanic Americans in Memphis. I have been inspired to weave some of these memories into my concept. The primary three-dimensional figure is a Native-American woman, stading six feet tal in quiet repose, wrapping herself in a blanket made of “skins” against the changing climate” – Vinnie Bagwell
Braile on the drape reads “Legacies”
1832 is embossed on the hem of the drape: The Chickasaw were one of the “Five Civilized Tribes” who were forced to sell their country in 1832.
Bas-relief images rise out of the hem of the garment. An African woman and child on the front/right: After the Civil War, the United States government made a peace treaty with Chickasaw Native Americas in 1866. It included a provision that they emancipate enslaved Africans and provide them with full citizenship in the nation. These people became known as Chickasaw Freedmen.
Native American Man
Hernando De Soto: The Spanish explorer was the first European in contact with the Chickasaw in 1540.
A guitar player representative of the plethora of blues musicians.
William Christopher Handy, declared “The Father of Blues” over 100 years ago; the blues is the mother of American music.
Cotton plant: Memphis grew into the world’s largest spot-cotton market.
Mexican Woman: The origin of the Chickasaws is uncertain. Noted 19th-century historian Horatio Cushman thought the Chickasaw may have had origins in present-day Mexico and migrated North.