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African-American cemetery added to Franklins audio tour

The city of Franklin added a historic African-American cemetery, sometimes called the “forgotten cemetery,” to its “audio cell phone tour” offerings April 5.

The audio tour was produced by members of the 2013 Leadership Franklin class (left to right) Will Reid, Sarah Butler, Charita Upkins, Franklin Mayor Dr. Ken Moore and Valerie Caldwell-Buford.

The inclusion of the Toussaint L’Ouverture Cemetery near the intersection of Del Rio Pike and Hillsboro Road in the audio tour came about as a group project by members of Leadership Franklin’s Class of 2013. Leadership Franklin is a non-profit group with the goal of “educating, informing and empowering leaders to improve the quality of life in Franklin and Williamson County,” according to the group’s website. 
“This is about creating the tapestry of history,” said Charita Upkins, Leadership Franklin project member.
Franklin historian Thelma Battle applauded the cemetery’s inclusion in the audio tour.
“This cemetery is for people of all ages and all races,” she said. “[The audio tour will] make the public more aware about the African-Americans in Williamson County. It will enable people to learn more about our culture.”
Tommy Murdic, president of the African-American Heritage Society, said that the cemetery was famously overgrown with weeds and thorny underbrush when he was a child. 
“I walked through this cemetery with my grandmother,” Murdic said. “Little did I know that she was giving me an oral history of her life.” 
He said the audio tour is a powerful tool in telling the history of the cemetery and that of those whose remains are buried there. “This is our history, this is our story,” he said. 
Tommy Murdic, president of the African-American Heritage Society

Six city parks, three cemeteries and a compelling overview of the Battle of Franklin are included in the audio tour. Visitors can learn more about the Toussaint L’Ouverture Cemetery, a mile north of Five Points, by calling 615-216-1597 and entering #12. The other 12 “stops” on the tour are also accessible through this phone number, or by dialing a unique phone number listed at each stop. Related information is also available by scanning a CR code with an Internet-enabled mobile device. 

Other “stops” on the audio tour include Winstead Hill, Assault on the Cotton Gin, Rest Haven Cemetery, City Cemetery, Harlinsdale Farm, Fort Granger/Roper’s Knob, Collins Farm and the Eastern Flank Battle Park. The audio tours are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and are available in English and Spanish. 
The cemetery is named for Toussaint L’Ouverture, who was a former slave who overthrew the oppressive government of Haiti in the early 19th century. 

Heisman Trophy winner and former Tennessee Titan running back lent his voice to the project.


Posted on: 4/5/2013


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