What is the Fuller Story Project?
The Fuller Story Project was created in August 2017 by a group of four men - three local pastors (Chris Williamson, Kevin Riggs, and Hewitt Sawyers) and the CEO of the Battle of Franklin Trust, Eric Jacobson. Their initiative was a response to the violence at the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia following the City Council's decision to remove a monument to Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The men decided to work together along with Franklin, Tennessee's mayor and administrators in an effort to build unity in Franklin and avoid confrontations over the Confederate Monument here. Their goal was to provide proactive solutions and they decided to focus their efforts on what could be added to the interpretation of Franklin's history.
Their proposal included installing educational markers near Franklin's Confederate monument and around the Franklin Public Square that interpreted the African American experience before and after the Battle of Franklin. The five markers cover the topics of:
the story of an old courthouse on the square where slaves were bought and sold
the Battle of Franklin
the US Colored Troop soldiers from Williamson County
the 1867 race riot that occurred in Franklin
These markers were unveiled on Thursday, October 17, 2019. Learn more here.
In addition, the group spearheaded the planning, commissioning and fundraising for the installation of a bronze statue of a US Colored Troop (USCT) Soldier on the Public Square in Franklin, Tennessee. In June 2020, fundraising for the statue was completed and the monument was installed in October 2021.
Connection to the Slaves To Soldiers Project
The Slaves to Soldiers Project and the Fuller Story Project are separate initiatives, with related goals. We collaborate and encourage each others' work, but are entirely distinct projects. The Fuller Story historic markers bring awareness to and provide context regarding the Black men highlighted by the Slaves to Soldiers Project. The USCT statue will honor the USCT veterans who were born, lived, married, enlisted, served, died and are buried right here in Williamson County. They are our native sons and the Fuller Story Project historic markers and statue honor them and their service. We are grateful for the work they have done to honor their stories.