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“Sowing the Seeds of the Future” Sculpture unveiled at Women’s History Park in Franklin

On Saturday, March 23, 2024, the town of Franklin, North Carolina, celebrated a significant milestone in its history with the dedication of the “Sowing the Seeds of the Future” sculpture and the opening of the Women’s History Park. Located at 592 East Main Street, this new pocket park is the first of its kind in the state, dedicated to honoring the contributions of women throughout history.

The “Sowing the Seeds of the Future” sculpture, a remarkable work of art created by Academy Award and Emmy-winning artist Wesley Wofford, was unveiled during the ceremony. Wofford, along with his wife Odyssey, attended the event and spoke to the impact their involvement creating the sculpture has had on them personally. Wofford’s study is located in Cashiers, NC.

The day’s festivities began at 10:30 a.m. with live music from Blue Jazz, setting a joyful tone for the ceremony that followed at 11:00 a.m. The ceremony included several significant moments, such as the unveiling of the sculpture, a dedication by Franklin Mayor Jack Horton, the donation of the sculpture to the Town of Franklin, and the designation of Women’s History Park as the trailhead for the Women’s History Trail.

The concept for both the Women’s History Trail and the “Sowing the Seeds of the Future” sculpture originated from the late Barbara McRae, a journalist, historian, naturalist, visionary, and trailblazer. McRae’s passion for researching the lives of significant Macon County women led her to envision a trail that would commemorate their accomplishments and influences, many of which had been unknown or forgotten.

In 2017, McRae met Wesley Wofford, sparking the creation of the sculpture. Inspired by the interconnected lives of Na-Ka Rebecca Morris, Harriet Timoxena Siler Sloan, and Salley, an enslaved woman, McRae envisioned bringing these women to life through art. Na-Ka Rebecca Morris, a Cherokee woman born in 1792, played a vital role in the early history of Franklin, as did Harriet Timoxena Siler Sloan, born in 1835, whose family were early settlers of the area. Salley, an African American enslaved woman, served as a bridge between the two cultures, learning from the Cherokee and later assisting the Siler family.

The Women’s History Trail and the “Sowing the Seeds of the Future” sculpture are projects of the Folk Heritage Association of Macon County, a local non-profit dedicated to preserving and celebrating the rich history of the region. The association officially donated the sculpture to the Town of Franklin, designating it as the trailhead for the Women’s History Trail.

The dedication of the “Sowing the Seeds of the Future” sculpture and the opening of Women’s History Park mark a significant moment in Franklin’s history, honoring the women who shaped the community and inspiring future generations to continue their legacy of resilience, strength, and leadership.

For more information on the Women’s History Trail and upcoming events, visit the Folk Heritage Association of Macon County’s website at www.womenshistorytrail.org.

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