The Franklin Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted unanimously to approve a draft settlement agreement with the United Daughters of the Confederacy over the Confederate monument in Franklin’s public square, at its July 14 meeting.
The settlement would grant the UDC ownership of the monument and the ground directly beneath it, while ownership of the surrounding square would belong to the city.
“I know that this matter has received considerable attention in the community,” Vice Mayor Dana McLendon said. “The essential terms of the settlement agreement are that the square in Franklin will maintain its status quo. The UDC will receive a deed for the monument and the dirt beneath it, and the square will continue to look and function as it has for many, many years.”
Disagreements over who owned the public square arose in 2018 when the UDC objected to the placement of historical markers related to the Fuller Story project around the statue, with the organization claiming it had ownership of the square. The historical markers were erected in 2019.
The monument, known as Our Confederate Soldiers or Chip, was erected by the UDC in 1899. The inscription at the base of the monument in part reads, “No country ever had truer sons, no cause nobler champions, no people bolder defenders than the brave soldiers to whose memory this stone is erected.”
Controversy over the statue’s place in modern-day Franklin was reignited after nationwide protests surrounding the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and efforts to combat systemic racism in the county, with some community members having spoken out against the statue’s placement and over 10,000 others having signed an online petition calling for the removal of the monument.
“Right now, all lives do not matter,” Franklin resident Dustin Koctar said at a candlelight vigil in June. “All lives do not matter when a Confederate monument has a place of prominence in our city, and the Confederate flag is on our county seal.”