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The Toni Morrison Society: A Bench by the Road Project

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.

Since 2006, the Toni Morrison Society has placed 25 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.

Cartersville, Georgia (Cartersville Train Depot) will serve as the site of the 26th Bench. Cartersville will honor the memory, sacrifice, and service of African American railway workers and the significance of the great Black migration to and from the South. We will also acknowledge the importance of Toni Morrison’s paternal legacy through the memory of the Wofford family. Information on placement date and related programming forthcoming, Spring 2020.

Please help the Summer Hill Heritage Foundation & Etowah Bush School to fund the placement of the Cartersville Bench. 


Make checks payable to:

Summer Hill Heritage Foundation with “TMS Bench” on memo line.


Summer Hill Foundation Mailing Address:

P.O Box 1761, Cartersville, GA 30120-1680


Online Contributions:

Online contributions can be made via PayPal or credit card by clicking here


For more information on the Toni Morrison Society click here.


Thank you in advance for your support!


The TMS Working Group (Cartersville, GA),

Cathy Freeman

Sean & Alexis Callahan

James Benham III (Trey)

Hedy Benham Smith 

Valerie Coleman

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