Veterans Park in downtown Franklin has immortalized the sacrifices of 29 veterans, including 19 black soldiers who fought in the United States Colored Troops and United States Navy during the Civil War, often in exchange for the freedom.
The brick pavers were dedicated on Memorial Day.
“From the American Revolution to the present, more than one million American men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice,” Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson said Monday before joining the Mayor of Franklin , Ken Moore, to read the engraved names.
“They died so we could continue to cherish the things we love.”
A total of 48 cobblestones honoring black Civil War soldiers are now housed at Veteran’s Park, thanks to the Slaves to Soldiers project. The first 29 cobblestones were dedicated to Veteran’s Park on Memorial Day in 2018.
This year, crowds gathered at Five Points Park as various flags flew at half mast in honor of the holiday.
Since 2018, the Slaves to Soldiers Project has raised funds to honor these soldiers, as extensive research reveals original names and stories. Franklin resident Tina Jones started the project in 2017.
To date, Jones and several contributors, including historians Thelma Battle and Rick Warwick, as well as the African American Heritage Society of Williamson County, have uncovered more than 300 black men from Williamson County who fought in federal forces. .
“I think people had always assumed that this was such a heavily Confederate area, that there were no African American soldiers there,” Jones told The Tennessean in 2018. “Now, we know they also came from here in Williamson County.”
Jones said this year’s cobblestones were made possible through individual sponsorships, including Franklin Mayor Ken Moore. She shared a thread on Twitter ahead of Memorial Day, sharing details regarding the human behind each brick’s namesake.
“CPL. John Pider (1843-1865) was (born) in Williamson County and served in the 13th US Colored Infantry,” she wrote in one post. “He fought in the Battle of Nashville and was later shot by a guerrilla in Waverly, Tennessee. His cobblestone was sponsored by the late @BousquetBrant.”
Sponsorships for cobblestones at next year’s inauguration ceremony can be purchased with a $65 donation at https://www.slavestosoldiers.org/home/how-to-donate.
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