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Removing Confederate flag on county seal requires state approval, attorney says

Topic stirred up by citizen emails to county commissioners

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Williamson County Seal

The Confederate flag in the official Williamson County Seal spurred several emails to the Williamson County Board of Commissioners inquiring the removal of the flag from the seal.

During Monday evening's Williamson County Board of Commissioners meeting, District 3 commissioner Jennifer Mason shared that board members have received numerous emails about a controversial element of the Williamson County seal — a Confederate flag in the upper left corner.

Williamson County Attorney Jeff Moseley said according to state law, the county would not have full authority to change the seal, but the issue would have to be taken up with the state.

"Any memorial that is public property, including artwork owned by a public entity, that commemorates a historic conflict, which by definition can also mean the Civil War, cannot be altered unless approval is obtained by the Tennessee Historical Commission after showing by clear and convincing evidence that there is substantial need to alter the artwork, memorial or plaque," he said, saying that the seal falls within those parameters.

The Tennessee Historical Commission, a 29-member board appointed by and including the governor, would have to have a two-thirds majority vote in order to alter the seal. In order to bring the issue to the state, the county commission would have to have a majority vote as well, Moseley explained.

Should the state vote to change the seal, the final approval would come from the county commission.

District 6 commissioner Erin Nations said that she is not in support of removing the flag from the seal, saying that Civil War history is something that draws visitors to the area.

"People come to Franklin to teach their children about our nation’s history," Nations said. "They are able to visit battlefields, museums, and access an abundance of information and experiences about the Civil War. This is part of what makes Williamson County such an incredibly unique place, and I am not willing to be a part of the effort to erase that history."

District 3 commissioner Keith Hudson did not share his personal preferences concerning the matter, but he said, due to the number of related inquiries, it is certainly a possibility that the matter will be put to a vote in the near future.

"I've been trying to read emails and see the opinions of different views," Hudson said.

He shared that, after the commission's discussion of the seal during Monday's meeting, commissioners have begun to receive opposition emails from constituents who want the seal to remain the way it is.

Nations and Hudson are the only two commissioners to immediately respond to the Williamson Herald's request for comment.

(2) comments


When does the book burning start?

Elmer Gantry

You comment does not even begin to make any sense.

Changing the Williamson County seal would actually save the county taxpayers money, particularly if a new seal with a reduced complexity of design elements and numbers of colors were incorporated into a new design.

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