The statue, part of the Fuller Story initiative, features a member fo the U.S. Colored Troops, Black men who fought for the Union during the Civil War. Titled "March to Freedom," the statue stands in front of the Williamson County Courthouse, where enslaved people enlisted to fight for freedom.
The Fuller Story, created in 2017 by reverends Hewitt Sawyers, Chris Williamson and Kevin Riggs and historian Eric Jacobson, aims to tell the stories of Black contributions and events throughout Franklin and Williamson County's history.
Franklin Mayor Ken Moore said the group worked with the city to get the project unanimously approved and to make the project a reality. In 2019, the group also installed historical markers with Black history around the Public Square.
"This is a continuation to tell all of the stories that make Franklin a unique community and also be recognized as a leader among the cities across our country," Moore said. "By telling all of these stories, we build a better community for all. We do want to build a community where everyone can thrive, work, play and worship, and also a place where incivility doesn't exist."
The statue, created by Tennessee native Joe. F. Howard, stands in the Public Square, just across from the Confederate monument in the center of the square. The unveiling ceremony featured speeches from members of the Fuller Story initiative as well as performances from ensemble singers Kettle Praise.
"We will tell our children what this statue means—this statue represents the nearly 200,000 men who bravely fought for our country, for their freedom and for the freedom of 4 million enslaved people in this country," Williamson said. "It means courage; it means possibility; it means dignity; ... it means a new day."