Dawn Comer Jefferson (L) and Dr. Rosanne Welch (R) present on their book, The Promise
On Friday March 21st my co-author, Dawn Comer Jefferson and I had the pleasure of making a presentation on “Slavery and the Oregon Trail” based on our book The Promise to the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades of Carpenter Avenue Elementary School as the guests of the non-profit Parents For Carpenter.
Comer Jefferson: Another thing about going on the trail is that when people were moving, from the South to the West, they would pack their belongings. They would sell their farms and pack their belongings and they would travel on the trail. So do you think you could bring your piano on the trial? Students: (Nooooo) Your sofa? Students: (Nooooo) Armchair? Yes? Students: (Nooooo) but people tried. So they packed them in their wagons. And as they traveled on the trail, and over mountains, through rivers, across streams, they had to throw them out along the way. So, you would see someone’s piano tossed on the road. You’d see someone’s sofa tossed on the road. They would break them up and burn them to start fires so they could stay warm. They had to keep their load as light as possible.
Welch: Has anyone ever seen the Griffith Park museum, the Gene Autry Museum? Lovely! They had a whole room dedicated to things that were left along the trail. ANd they have letters from people who took the trail. it is really quite a lovely place to go. And imagine the things they thought they could bring. Because they had never travled that far. They didn’t know how bad it was. They didn’t know how bad it could get.