A new Civil War monument planned for the square in downtown Franklin has reached full funding after a $50,000 donation from the Heller Family Foundation.
The bronze statue will honor the U.S. Colored Troops who fought for the freedom of Black people during the Civil War.
“The role of the U.S. Colored Troops has never been sufficiently recognized,”says Roderick Heller, one of the final donors. “We wanted to do something we thought would unite us and not divide us, and I think the Fuller Story is a message of unification.”
The monument is a part of the Fuller Story initiative, which seeks to document early experiences of Black people in Franklin.
The statue will stand across from a 37-foot-tall Confederate soldier monument, which was erected in 1899. The new statue will be eye level, which The Battle of Franklin Trust CEO Eric Jacobson hopes will allow people to take photos with the figure.
“I think it’s an appropriate balance to the Confederate monument,” Jacobson says, “to treat both sides of history as part of an overall story that needs to be talked about and needs to be taught, not just in schools but in the public square and at historic sites.”
In Middle Tennessee and regions across the world, people are reevaluating the public honoring of racist figures. In Nashville, protestors have called for the bust of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest to be removed from the state capitol.
The monument of a Black soldier will be erected on the Franklin square before Juneteenth of 2021.