Author Jerry Ellis will be speaking about his 900-mile walk along the Cherokee Trail of Tears as guest speaker for Historic Ramsey House Annual Meeting to be held at the East Tennessee Historic Center on June 21st at 5:30 p.m. Ellis, a graduate of the University of Alabama, became in 1989 the first person in the modern world to walk the Trail of Tears.
“I did the walk to honor the Cherokee and to raise awareness about Cherokee history,” said Ellis. “I sold all I owned to finance the life-altering, two month trek. I slept mostly in woods and fields along the Trail, though sometimes kind strangers gave me shelter and a meal for the night.”
Random House nominated Ellis’ resulting book, “Walking the Trail, One Man’s Journey Along the Cherokee Trail of Tears,” for a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award. It has been read by more than 600,000, quoted in Reader’s Digest, and went on display in 2011 at the National Teachers’ Hall of Fame.
Fred Brown reviewed the book for The Knoxville News-Sentinel. “Jerry Ellis has done something everyone can envy: He lived his fantasy and has told a wonderful story about the weaving of that tapestry…There is poetry here. There is feeling and emotion. There is gallantry and guts, chivalry and courage, laughter and tears.”
Ellis has spoken about his rare walk and the resulting book at private international schools in Asia, Africa, and Europe. He has been published in the New York Times, had five plays produced, and is the author of nine books. He lives in both Fort Payne, Alabama, and in Rome, Italy. He speaks Italian and Spanish, and has traveled to six continents.
The evening starts with a meet and greet and book signing at 5:30; Dinner at 6:15; Mr. Ellis to speak at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are $20 for members and $25 for non members.