Franklin history is a complex one that includes much more than just the Civil War battle that took place here. The full story of Franklin’s history is that there are events and occurrences that happened in its public square and in its downtown area, particularly denigrating to the black citizens of the time, that would be considered wholly unacceptable in modern society. While not a positive history or source of pride for Franklin, these events cannot be overlooked as if they never happened.
In the wake of tragic events at a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, Franklin area pastors and community leaders of all races gathered for a prayer vigil around Franklin’s public square, and from that discussions began about how all of Franklin’s history was not properly acknowledged in the downtown square. Those pastors and community leaders rallied support and funds to erect five historic markers around the public square to acknowledge the terrible events of the past, and serve as an education to residents and visitors alike about more than just the Civil War story, but the Fuller Story.
Two markers surrounding the public square on the roundabout share the story of the Battle of Franklin and the statue at the center of it, along with one describing the market house that stood on the square in the early years of Franklin’s founding which was used for the purchasing and selling of human beings.
Three other historic markers can be found around the public square outside the historic courthouse detailing reconstruction, the riot of 1867, and local involvement of U.S. Colored Troops. In the next phase of the Fuller Story project, a statue of a U.S. Colored Troop will be erected outside the historic courthouse next to where that marker is today. Fundraising efforts for the USCT statue are currently underway and those wishing to learn more or contribute to the statue’s construction can do so here.