FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WKRN) – It was a historic day in Franklin with the unveiling of several plaques next to the Confederate statue, in which community leaders hope will tell the “full story” from slave labor to everyone who fought in the Civil War.
“It’s time to tell the truth, it’s time to tell the whole story and it’s time to tell the fuller story,” Eric Jacobson, CEO of the Battle of Franklin Trust, told the crowd of more than 100 people who gathered for the ceremony Thursday.
Confederate soldier “Chip” has stood in Downtown Franklin since 1899.
In 2017, Confederate monuments created an uproar across the country after nearly two dozen people were injured, one killed, in a protest in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“There were cries to pull down Chip, and the response of the community was, ‘No, let’s tell more of the story, this is part of the story,'” Franklin Mayor Ken Moore told News 2.
Then, two Franklin pastors and Jacobson came up with what they call the ‘fuller story,’ now told with five plaques in the square.
“Especially as it pertains to the marker, and the courthouse and the market house connected to it and who my ancestors were bought and sold from this very spot of land,” said Reverend Chris Williamson of Strong Tower Bible Church.
“You can’t really move forward until you come to grips with what happened, and then set out to redeem it,” added Rev. Kevin Riggs of the Franklin Community Church.
October 17th, 2019, they declare a day of redemption.
“I think it breaks a lot of strongholds that have been here, as far as division in the community,” Williamson, said, “It shows what we can become. What we can be. So I’m proud of our city today, I don’t think I’ve been able to say that for a long time.”
The group is now working on adding, what they call, a bronze statue of a U.S. colored soldier. If you’d like to help fundraise, contact the Battle of Franklin Trust.