WillCo Seal

The official seal of Williamson County was adopted in 1968.

In response to renewed scrutiny over the Williamson County seal for its inclusion of a Confederate flag, the County Commission approved the formation of a new task force last week to explore its alteration.

That nine-member task force, which will feature a varied collection of Williamson County community, business and faith leaders, will be chaired by a representative of Williamson Inc., who on Monday have invited residents to submit their own thoughts on the county seal.

The request for input from community members can be viewed online by clicking here, and asks residents to share their “views on the Williamson County seal,” as well as include their name and city.

Williamson County seal

The official seal of Williamson County was adopted on July 15, 1968. 

Designed by journalist James H. Armistead and then-county historian Virginia Bowman, the seal bears four quadrants; the lower right shows farm animals, symbolizing the importance of agriculture, the lower left depicts a bible, representing religion, the upper right a school house, illustrating the importance of education, and the upper left shows a Confederate battle flag resting against a cannon, symbolizing “the rich history in the county.”

Calls for the seal’s alteration

While talks of altering the county seal have been held for years, county commissioners did not actively move to consider the alteration until June of this year following increased outcries from residents following the nationwide George Floyd protests.

Among concerns of those calling for the seal’s alteration include the timing of the seal’s adoption. The height of the Civil Rights movement, 1968 also saw the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., with studies showing a strong correlation between the adoption of public displays of the Confederacy with advancements in Black communities.

Process of altering the seal

For the Williamson County seal to be altered, approval would have to come from the Tennessee Historic Commission, a 29-member commission that includes Gov. Bill Lee. 

The newly created task force will discuss altering the seal, propose any alterations, after which the county commission itself would have to approve the proposed alterations. Once approved, the county commission would then request the Tennessee Historic Commission to vote on allowing Williamson County to alter its seal, which it would have to do by a two-thirds vote.