Juneteenth

The Franklin Justice and Equity Coalition (FJEC), established in June 2020, hosted a Juneteenth Celebration in Franklin Public Square this past Saturday.

This year's theme was "History, Legacy and Excellence," and attendees, vendors, and volunteers worked to live up to the spirit of the event. People of all ages could be spotted volunteering with event sponsor Mars, shopping at the more than 110 vendors, and celebrating in front of the stage, where Julius and the Genius Band, Don Adams Band, Ruby Camille, Shalom, Trisha and Cojo Ko performed throughout the day.

Cody Waddey, CEO of 3 Sisters Sorbet, sold sorbet at the event alongside his daughter. His father's food truck, Moe Better BBQ and Fish, was stationed beside him in Franklin Public Square. Inside, his father, James Maurice Pope, mother, and aunt were working to keep up with the long line of people waiting to try their ribs.

Waddey hopes to pass the familial entrepreneurial spirit onto his daughter, who currently watches each step of the process from making the sorbet, packaging it up and actually selling the product and making a profit.

"I want her to see all that," Waddey said. "There's a lot of events where it's me, my daughter, my mother and my father working together; it's always a beautiful thing. But I work together, and it's always a beautiful thing. But I will add it probably is a bit of extra significance that it was on Juneteenth and that it was for a Juneteenth festival."

Waddey's family has been in Williamson County since at least 1844, when William James Boyd was born to a runaway enslaved mother caught in the Fernvale area and purchased by George Boyd. William James Boyd went on to marry Clara Owens in 1873, and the two bought the property now known as Mud Sink farm. The farm still stays within the family today and is where the 3 Sister Raspberry Sorbet recipe originated.

"My product, my story and the history of my product was perfectly fitting for the event," Waddey said. "And I don't think it was one person that stopped at my booth and heard the story didn't at least buy one cup, so it was a great experience."

Multigenerational participation could be seen in volunteers as well. Inetta Gaines, who spoke at the event, volunteered alongside her 16-year-old granddaughter in the Kids Zone, making cotton candy and manning the putt-putt game.

"It was really neat for it to actually be her idea," Gaines shared about her granddaughter's involvement the Kids Zone. 

An active community member in Williamson County, Gaines spoke about the Brentwood Historical Commission's effort to preserve Black history in Brentwood. The commission member shared that current projects include cleaning up graveyards, primarily the Owen-Moore Cemetary on Church Street, maintaining the former slave cabins on the Owen-Primm property and recognizing Black historical figures in Brentwood.

Gaines worked with the Brentwood Historical Commission to hang plaques in the John P. Holt Library, honoring the enslaved people who had worked on the plantation, generating a great deal of the funds later donated in honor of James P. Holt to the City of Brentwood.

"I wanted to reach a wider audience of Williamson County and to let them know that [Brentwood Historical Commission] is very intentional about African-American preservation," Gaines said. "I just want people to understand that Brentwood is not just sitting here maintaining mansions. We are also very intentional with African-American preservation."