City Council, fiscal court agree to help fund slave memorial (Commonwealth Journal)


By CARLA SLAVEY and JANIE SLAVEN Commonwealth Journal Oct 26, 2016

KENNESAW, Ga. (Oct 28, 2016) — New steps have been made to honor many who remain nameless — slaves from Pulaski’s past, most of whom lie within unmarked graves in the county’s plentiful cemeteries. A local group seeks to erect a memorial to the men and women who were forced to build up this area into the community it is today, and their efforts received a boost this week from two branches of local government.

Somerset’s City Council and Pulaski Fiscal Court both pledged support to the Lake Cumberland Slaves Memorial Association. City councilors voted to extend a $5,000 contribution, while the court agreed to $5,000 along with any in-kind help it could provide.

Both offers were a result of presentations from the association’s board, which is seeking the outside funding ahead of the possibility of being awarded a $100,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). ...

An artist and design has been selected from more than 65 applicants from across the nation as well as Spain, Portugal and England. Kennesaw State University professor Ayokunle Odeleye, from Georgia, submitted the chosen design, a 20-foot tall stainless steel piece which the artist says would take about 10 months to create.

The sculpture’s shape is inspired by Ancient African decorative boat paddles. In his application, the artist stated that, “In many African spiritual systems, water is associated with the creation of life and the phenomena of death in addition to being believed to be a medium for the transition from the world of the living to the realm of the dead. Crossing over a body of water in a boat using a paddle was believed to be part of the deceased’s journey into the next life.”

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