History.com | March 13, 2018
How U.S. Westward Expansion Breathed New Life into Slavery
Like most people uprooted by the Cherokee Trail of Tears, Eliza Whitmire experienced terrible trauma.
In 1830, the U.S. government passed the Indian Removal Act. Eliza was about five years old when more than 3,000 armed militia arrived in Cherokee country in 1838. The militia companies forced her, her family and her community to march more than 1,000 miles west—through Northern Georgia, across the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, to present-day Oklahoma.
Her mother described “the bitter memory” of “women and children…driven from their homes, sometimes with blows.” The sick, young and elderly sometimes rode in wagons, but the majority of the tens of thousands being displaced traversed the rugged territory on foot. Along the way, starvation posed a constant threat. It was a “time filled with horror and suffering for the unfortunate Cherokee and their slaves,” Eliza later recalled. Read more on History.com