Williamson County approves recommendation to remove Confederate flag from county seal

The Williamson County Board of Commissioner met Sept. 14 to hear a recommendation on the county seal. (Screenshot via YouTube)
The Williamson County Board of Commissioner met Sept. 14 to hear a recommendation on the county seal. (Screenshot via YouTube)

The Williamson County Board of Commissioner met Sept. 14 to hear a recommendation on the county seal. (Screenshot via YouTube)

Following weeks of debate and seeking community feedback, the Williamson County Board of Commissioners voted 16-7 on Sept. 14 approving a resolution to accept a recommendation to remove the Confederate flag from the county seal.

The seal, which was adopted in 1968, has been the subject of debate in recent months as many residents have called for the removal of Confederate monuments in the area following the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many other Black Americans while in police custody.

In July, following a petition signed by thousands of residents, the county board formed a task force to determine if the seal should be altered. The seal depicts the flag and cannon, a school house, a bible in a church window and farm animals. The task force only focused on the quadrant with the flag.

During the Sept. 14 meeting, members of the task force announced that they had unanimously voted to remove the flag from the seal.

The task force is headed by Williamson Inc. President and CEO Matt Largen. It also includes members from the African American Heritage Society of Williamson County and the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County as well as Black community leaders and business owners, Williamson County historian Rick Warwick and members of families who have lived in the county for at least three generations.


“The social and public interest section is hard to quantify, but what we did learn is that it doesn’t make the pain any less real that some longtime residents feel when they see our county flag,” Largen said. “To those residents who have lived here their entire life, have helped build this community and have raised a family here, the flag is not welcoming. It’s not inclusive but a symbol of oppression and is divisive because it has been used by groups like the Ku Klux Klan.”

Largen said the task force also found there could be financial impacts of keeping the seal. A number of local companies, including Mars Petcare, Nissan, Mitsubishi Motors, and Zeitlin Southeby’s International Realty included a letter to the commission calling for the removal of the seal in the task force report.

“Research concluded there is a risk to tourism and business recruitment and retention if the Confederate flag is left on the seal, which directly impacts the county budget especially since the task force and this issue has garnered so much media attention,” Largen said.

The report from the task force estimates it would cost the county approximately $27,300 to remove the seal from all county properties, and another $95,900 to replace the seal with a new one, should the county choose to do so.

However, this motion does not mean the seal will be changed right away.

Now that the resolution has been approved by the board, Williamson County Attorney Jeff Moseley said the county has authorized County Mayor Rogers Anderson to send an application to the Tennessee Historic Commission, asking for permission to alter the seal.

“The only reason the historical commission is involved at all is because the county seal is a piece of art as defined by the statute and contains a memorialization of what is referred to in the statute as ‘the war between the states,’” Moseley said.

Following the application, the THC will deliberate whether it is within their jurisdiction to allow the county to change the seal. Should the THC find that it is, it would require a two-third vote of approval to change. Following that approval, the matter would return to the county to determine how the seal would be altered, Moseley said.
By Wendy Sturges
A Houston native and graduate of St. Edward's University in Austin, Wendy Sturges has worked as a community journalist covering local government, health care, business and development since 2011. She has worked with Community Impact since 2015 as a reporter and editor and moved to Tennessee in 2019.


MOST RECENT

Sal’s Family Pizza is located at 595 Hillsboro Road, Ste. 311, Franklin. (Wendy Sturges/Community Impact Newspaper)
Sal's Family Pizza in Franklin adds outdoor seating

Just in time for fall weather, Sal's has added outdoor seating to its eatery on Hillsboro Road.

Lynn Harnen and RJ Chesna opened Spark: An Art Studio in late August at Hill Center Brentwood. (Photos by Wendy Sturges/Community Impact Newspaper)
FIRST LOOK: Sister-brother team aims to encourage creativity at Spark: An Art Studio

In need of a creative project to get you out of the house? Spark: An Art Studio is now open in Brentwood.

Superintendent Jason Golden said all communication about quarantine requirements will now come from the health department. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Williamson County Schools to stop quarantine calls next week

Superintendent Jason Golden said all communication about quarantine requirements will now come from the health department.

One in five children and adults have a learning disability, according to statistics from the National Center for Learning Disabilities. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Q&A: National Center for Learning Disabilities expert discusses challenges of special education, remote learning during pandemic

The NCLD's director of policy and advocacy spoke about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on special education students and their development in and out of the classroom.

(Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Williamson County coronavirus cases rise 7% in past week; more than 600 students in quarantine or isolation

Schools are reporting a rising number of students who are in isolation or quarantine due to the virus. 

Hillsboro School is a K-8 school in Williamson County. (Courtesy Williamson County Schools)
Williamson County Schools looking for community input on Hillsboro School mascot

According to WCS, this is not a vote to change the mascot, and the district is not asking for new mascot suggestions. 

Vui's Kitchen features a variety of Vietnamese dishes, including small bites, entrees and desserts. (Community Impact staff)
9 new eateries that opened in Franklin, Brentwood this summer

Take a look to see which new spots you may have missed. 

Williamson County Schools requested more funding from the county this month to help meet unexpected coronavirus-related expenses. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
County approves additional funding for Williamson County Schools COVID-19 expenses

WCS Superintendent Jason Golden said the district’s online learning program as well as quarantine requirements from the county health department have placed a strain on staffing, compounded by a statewide teacher shortage.

Franklin Special School District operates eight schools within the city of Franklin. (Alex Hosey/Community Impact Newspaper)
Robert Blair selected board chair for Franklin Special School District; community members call for former chair to resign

Former board chair Tim Stillings opted not to put his name forward for consideration this year following a controversial social media post.

(Community Impact Staff)
DATA: See 6 months of tracking COVID-19 in Williamson County

It has been over six months since the coronavirus reached Williamson County. Take a look at how data has changed in Williamson County over the past several months.

While active cases numbers are relatively stable, some sectors of the population are still seeing slight increases.  (Community Impact staff)
Williamson County active coronavirus cases remain stable; cases in school-age children up 13% since last week

While active cases numbers are relatively stable, some sectors of the population are still seeing slight increases.