NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Williamson County is another step closer to changing its county seal.
County commissioners voted to create a task force to evaluate revisions to the current official government seal in the wake of racial protests across the country.
Last month, Franklin resident Dustin Koctar started a petition to change the seal and it now has more than 10,000 signatures.
The seal shows a Confederate flag draped over a cannon.
Koctar explained what the task force will do.
“So they’ll be the ones getting feedback directly from members of Williamson County about what the seal means to them. But also the task force will do some research on their own on if we choose to design a new seal, what’s the cost going to be, etc. because we’re going to change signs and uniforms and decals off of vehicles,’ said Koctar.
The task force will present its recommendations at a county commission meeting in September.
The Williamson County Democratic Party called for the retirement of the seal due to the Confederate battle flag display.
“Standing up against racism is not a partisan issue and it’s not about erasing the past,” said Kelly Baker-Hefley, chair of the Democratic Party’s Executive Committee. “Our county seal should represent everyone. This is about creating unity and a more equitable Williamson County, particularly as we celebrate our nation’s Independence.”
The current seal was adopted in 1968 “at the height of the civil rights movement and reinforced our racial divides,” noted Baker-Hefley. It was designed by county historian Virginia Bowman and journalist James H. Armistead, according to the county’s website, and “features four quadrants representing the diversity of the county.”
The party’s Executive Committee also called on businesses throughout the county to support replacing the county seal and asked the County Mayor “to form a broad-based ‘reconciliation body’ to stimulate a new dialogue among residents about racial inequities and disadvantages in Williamson [County].”
The county’s Democratic Party is calling for a complete retirement of the current seal and the immediate adoption of a seal “that is uniting and uplifting to all Williamson County residents.” They are also calling for the county to immediately refrain from using the current seal while a new one is being designed.
The Battle of Franklin was fought on November 30, 1864. An estimated 1,750 Confederate soldiers were killed, 3,800 were wounded and 702 were reported missing or captured.