Category Archives: community resources

Celebrate Juneteenth Today!


What is Juneteenth?

It was June 19th, 1865 (two years after the Emancipation Proclamation had legally freed slaves on January 1, 1863) that Major General Gordon Granger announced the end of the Civil War and slavery.  Slave owners had withheld that information from slaves to be able to get another harvest out of them.  Granger’s General Order Number Three left no doubt about the fact:

The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absoluteequality of personal rights and rights of property, between former masters andslaves and the connection heretofore existing between them, becomes thatbetween employer and hired labor. The Freedmen are advised to remain attheir present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will notbe allowed to collect at military posts; and they will not be supported in idlenesseither there or elsewhere.

Juneteenth is a day of commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, it is often referred to as the Black Independence Day. It is recognized as a state holiday or observance in forty-seven states and the District of Columbia.  Although the push to have it named as a Federal holiday has not been successful, the last four U. S. Presidents have made remarks about its observance. Over the course of 155 years, Juneteenth has become a global event.

Observances are usually community events, including parades, cookouts, picnics, festivals, marches, and prayer vigils. Given the current protests concerning the systemic racism that permeates our American culture – with the focus on police brutality and a biased criminal justice system, June 19th or Juneteenth takes on special significance. This day is to recognize African American freedom and achievement and take the time to promote and cultivate our appreciation of the diversity of cultures. In recent years, the celebrations have been global, as the sacrifices to achieve freedom are still ongoing.

The state of Tennessee passed legislation in 2007 (Tenn. Code Ann. §15-2-113 (2007) to recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday.

In Multnamah County in Oregon, June 19th is now a paid holiday.



Additional Resources:



Juneteeth Books in WCPL Collection

Children’s Fiction and Nonfiction

Juneteenth, Jubilee for Freedom (Holidays and Culture) Juneteenth, Jubilee for Freedom
Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd Cooper Juneteenth for Mazie
by Floyd Cooper
Freedom's Gifts by Valerie Wesley Freedom’s Gifts
by Valerie Wesley
Traditional African American Arts and Activities by Sonya Kimble-Ellis Traditional African American Arts and Activities
by Sonya Kimble-Ellis

Adult Fiction and Nonfiction

Go Tell It On the Mountain by James Baldwin

Go Tell It On the Mountain
by James Baldwin

Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin

Several editions available here, here, and here in print, a children’s version, and a film adaptation. Also available as an ebook or audiobook on Tennessee R.E.A.D.S.

Juneteenth: a novel by Ralph Ellison

Juneteenth: a novel
by Ralph Ellison

Juneteenth: A Novel by Ralph Ellison
Available on Tennessee R.E.A.D.S. as a digital ebook or audiobook.

General Gordon Granger: the savior of Chickamauga and the man behind

General Gordon Granger: the savior of Chickamauga and the man behind “Juneteenth”
by Robert Conner

General Gordon Granger: The Savior of Chickamauga and the Man Behind “Juneteenth” by Robert Conner available online as an ebook.

Excellent Citizens and Notable Partings in Williamson County, Tennessee Book Publication Announcement

What was Special Collections doing during the covid-19 shelter-at-home mandate?

We’re glad you asked! Your Special Collection librarians were right here, working hard on compiling and editing a new book for our department, and for you! As much as we didn’t like the circumstances, we welcomed this time to focus on bringing our work to completion. We fully intend to have our new book available for purchase and/or perusal sometime in June, barring any unforeseen circumstances. 

What is the title?

The long title is: 

Excellent Citizens and Notable Partings: A Further Look at the Popular Series, “Portrait of an Excellent Citizen,” Published in The Review-Appeal, 1966-1968, in Franklin, Tennessee

What made you compile a book? 

Inspiration. It’s as simple as that. Nearly two years ago, an old box of donated items provided  hours of delight and entertainment as we combed through its contents. Among the assorted papers, we found a nearly complete set of Review-Appeal “Portrait of an Excellent Citizen” clippings which, we soon discovered, ran as a series between the years 1966-1968. We were intrigued by this Review-Appeal appointed group of outstanding citizens, so highly regarded that each face was individually hand drawn by Tennessean staff artist, Bill Duke. 

Why these citizens?

Each generation recognizes those among us who stand out, the ones getting things done, the ones everyone either knows or “knows of.” How the Review-Appeal “Portrait of an Excellent Citizen” series came into being is a bit of a mystery, as well as their selection process. It seemed to have just appeared out of the blue, with no introduction and no conclusion. However, once re-discovered, we quickly recognized that this collection of citizen portraits gave us a unique snapshot of Williamson County and some, but not all, of the more visible citizens of the late 1960s, and that in itself was significant. While our nation was in the throes of political turmoil and cultural revolution, it would seem that business and life went on as usual in Williamson County.

Why is this book important?

As we began to wonder how the lives of these “Excellent Citizens” played out and what it would look like to read their end-of-life story, we set out to locate their obituaries and other articles. After compiling a fair amount of additional material, it was easy to see the treasure we had unearthed. We knew if we could get this all into a book, it would become an important resource for present and future researchers in finding family connections and aiding their understanding of these citizens and their place in our midst. For added interest, we threaded in ads of the era found in the Review-Appeal, The Williamson Leader, and the local Franklin phone directory. We also used quotations and excerpts from other local sources whenever possible.

Are any of the Excellent Citizens still living?

Yes, only about 10. For those citizens who are still living, we sent letters or called asking for their help, or their family’s help, in creating an updated entry for them. Most were happy to do so. And as word got out, some families of those citizens already gone were eager to help as well. In that way, we were able to amass original and important additional content for many of our living and deceased Excellent Citizens.

Are there other books about local people from Williamson County?

Yes, there are quite a few wonderful biographies, and several narratives of life in Franklin which are very  entertaining as well as factual. We are eager to point out to our readers works such as Who’s Who in Williamson County by Jane Bowman Owen, Who’s Who in Williamson County by Nat Osborne, Jr., and Who’s Who in Williamson County by Derry Carlisle, reprints of the Review-Appeal column of the same name published over a span of 35 years, all colorfully written and re-published by Rick Warwick. We also encourage our patrons to read the narratives of locals who have chronicled their own lives in Williamson County during this era, and in doing so, have animated the lives of many other citizens, some featured in our book. Look for works by Leonard Isaacs, Russ Farnsworth, Bill Peach, Bobby Langley, Jimmy Gentry, W.C. Yates, and others. Many of these are available to check out at WCPL.

Why are these 143 citizens important?

In today’s world, we have “social media” and “influencers,” but these men and women of the late 1960s were influential — they were doers, and their lives reflected their interaction with and influence in the community. For a time, they were all here in this one place, together, the stalwarts of their day. We hope this book, which we have painstakingly compiled and edited, will provide its readers and researchers with a useful resource as well as a source of memories of a time gone by, now known as The Sixties. 

Watch for details about our new book, Excellent Citizens and Notable Partings, coming out soon!

From the Special Collections Department

Marcia P. Fraser and Ashleigh M. Florida

Covid-19 and Tips for Caregivers

For those living with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia and their caregivers, navigating the COVID-19 pandemic presents a unique challenge. Many Tennesseans are currently not able to visit their loved ones living in memory care facilities and family caregivers with loved ones in the home may feel more isolated than ever before.

The Alzheimer’s Association stands ready to help families in the Williamson County community, and statewide, who are impacted. In addition to ​advocating for vital public policies to protect long-term care residents and workers​, the Alzheimer’s Association has also released guidelines and tips to support Tennesseans through this crisis.

If you’re a family caregiver for someone living with Alzheimer’s or dementia, these tips can help you and your loved one stay healthy:

  • For people living with dementia, increased confusion is often the first symptom of any illness. If a person living with dementia shows rapidly increased confusion, contact your health care provider for advice. Unless the person is having difficulty breathing or a very high fever, it is recommended that you call your healthcare provider instead of going directly to an emergency room. Your doctor may be able to treat the person without a visit to the hospital.
  • People living with dementia may need extra and/or written reminders and support to remember important hygienic practices from one day to the next.
  • Consider placing signs in the bathroom and elsewhere to remind people with dementia to wash their hands with soap for 20 seconds.
  • Demonstrate thorough hand-washing.
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can be a quick alternative to hand-washing if the person with dementia cannot get to a sink or wash his/her hands easily.
  • Ask your pharmacist or doctor about filling prescriptions for a greater number of days to reduce trips to the pharmacy.
  • Think ahead and make alternative plans for the person with dementia should adult day care, respite, etc. be modified or cancelled in response to COVID-19.
  • Think ahead and make alternative plans for care management if the primary caregiver should become sick.

If you or a loved one are living in a residential care facility, the Association recommends the following:

  • Check with the facility regarding their procedures for managing COVID-19 risk. Ensure they have your emergency contact information and the information of another family member or friend as a backup.
  • Do not visit your family member if you have any signs or symptoms of illness.
  • Depending on the situation in your local area, facilities may limit or not allow visitors. This is to protect the residents but it can be difficult if you are unable to see your family member.
  • If visitation is not allowed, ask the facility how you can have contact with your family member. Options include telephone calls, video chats or even emails to check in.
  • If your family member is unable to engage in calls or video chats, ask the facility how you can keep in touch with facility staff in order to get updates.

Additionally, the Alzheimer’s Association has shifted their educational and support programming to a virtual format, including recurring programs in partnership with the library. You can find a full schedule of t​hose programs here.​

And finally, remember you are not alone. The Alzheimer’s Association offers a free, 24/7 Helpline where you can reach a master-level clinician for support or advice. Call 800-272-3900 to get connected.

About Racism

The Women’s March
The March against Gun Violence
The MeToo Movement
The Climate Change Movement
Corona Virus Pandemic
Black Lives Matter

All of this has been brought to the forefront of our collective consciousness in the last three and a half years. And always, betwixt and between, acts of racism, the images of brutality by both police and civilians interspersed with all these other subjects of community concern. But this racism, by far, is the ugliest; the violence we see against Black and Brown people on our news casts and news feeds is the result of systemic, inherent racism that has been a part of the American experiment for over 400 years.

On the American Public Health Association’s website, racism is defined as such: “ (r)acism is a system of structuring opportunity and assigning value based on the social interpretation of how one looks (which is what we call “race”), that unfairly disadvantages some individuals and communities, unfairly advantages other individuals and communities, and saps the strength of the whole society through the waste of human resources.” — APHA Past-President Camara Phyllis Jones, MD, MPH, PhD

‘Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, like we do!’

Admonishments that imply laziness and idleness – what if you have no bootstraps? What if your bootstraps were removed long before your birth? Your parents have none, and they are rare in your community. Equal opportunity becomes a myth.

Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz

Betty Before X
by Ilyasah Shabazz

 According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, we must recognize that children raised in African American,  Hispanic, and American Indian homes face higher risks of  parental unemployment and to reside in families with  significantly lower household net income relative to white  children in the United States, which create barriers to equal opportunities and services designed for health and vocational results . “The social environment in which children are raised shapes child and adolescent development, and pediatricians are poised to prevent and respond to environmental circumstances that undermine child health.”

“Racism is a public health issue. The AAP condemns violence, especially when perpetrated by authorities, and calls for a deep examination of how to improve the role of policing. Systemic violence requires systemic response.”

Count Me In by Varsha Bajaj

Count Me In
by Varsha Bajaj

From Timothy Peoples at Baptist News:

“I had a flashback to first grade, to the first time my mother gave me The Talk. Every black mother has given this talk to her son; it’s pretty much universal in black households in the United States. It begins – at least in my experience and in that of others in my family – with the mother discerning whether her son is ready for this news because she knows this just might shatter his world.

“My mother got down on my level, kissed me on the cheek and with tears in her eyes said, “Baby, you are a black boy in a white man’s world.” She was very intentional about her choice of words: boy versus man.”

There is a stressor inherent in living with Black or Brown skin that is unique; just living with the stressor causes health inequities – no matter if the exposure to police violence was personal or not. Just waiting for that hammer to drop, anywhere, anytime.

We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices edited by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson

We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices
edited by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson

From the American Medical Association:

“Research demonstrates that racially marginalized communities are disproportionally subject to police force, and there is a correlation between policing and adverse health outcomes.”

The higher frequency of police encounters is linked to elevated stress and anxiety levels, along with increased rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, and asthma—and their fatal complications.

It is widely understood in medicine and public health that structural racism manifests in unequal access to opportunities, resources, conditions, and power within their respective systems.

“AMA policy recognizes that physical or verbal violence between law enforcement officers and the public, particularly among Black and Brown communities where these incidents are more prevalent and pervasive, is a critical determinant of health and supports research into the public health consequences of these violent interactions.”

Where Are You From? by Yamile Saied Menendez

Where Are You From?
by Yamile Saied Menendez

In an opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar writes, in part:

“Racism in America is like dust in the air. It seems invisible — even if you’re choking on it — until you let the sun in. Then you see it’s everywhere. As long as we keep shining that light, we have a chance of cleaning it wherever it lands. But we have to stay vigilant, because it’s always still in the air.”

How do we all care, support, and work with each other and our community to disrupt the racism in our culture eliminating health and wealth disparities, institutional racism, and inherent racial bias?  What role can our libraries play to help our communities heal, grow, and develop? We ensure information and enhance learning, for all. We stand with the members of our communities that face prejudice, violence, and death, based on their race/ethnicity or gender. These acts degrade our institutions and destroys our communities.

The American Library Association unequivocally condemns racism and endorses recent statements by the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association and the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (PDF).

President Barack Obama writes on Medium and published on his own website:

Not My Idea: a book about whiteness by Anastasia Higgenbotham

Not My Idea: a book about whiteness
by Anastasia Higgenbotham

How to Make this Moment the Turning Point for Real Change

“Let’s not excuse violence, or rationalize it, or participate in it.  If we want our criminal justice system, and American society at large, to operate on a higher ethical code, then we have to model that code ourselves,” former President Barack Obama wrote.

“The bottom line is this: if we want to bring about real change, then the choice isn’t between protest and politics. We have to do both. We have to mobilize to raise awareness, and we have to organize and cast our ballots to make sure that we elect candidates who will act on reform.”

New Era of Public Safety: An Advocacy Toolkit for Fair, Safe, and Effective Community Policing

An initiative of the Policing Campaign at the Leadership Conference Education Fund, the education and research arm of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

The Tipping Point
by Malcolm Gladwell

In Malcom Gladwell’s The Tipping Point (a very appropriate read at this time, on so many levels), he borrows the phrase Tipping Point from epidemiology (the study of epidemics) to describe the moment an idea or a social movement has reached critical mass – the right number of people, with the right message, in the right context.  He writes that we intuitively think that the transactions going into relationships or systems are linear, a product of cause and effect (one for one, two for two, etc.), “(t)o appreciate the power of [social] epidemics, we have to abandon this expectation of proportionality. We need to prepare ourselves for the possibility that sometimes big changes follow from small events, and changes can happen quickly.”

We can only hope so.

Put The Tipping point by Malcolm Gladwell on hold here, and keep an eye on our recommended summer reading lists for more inclusive and educational literature selections.

Gladwell, Malcolm. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. Abacus, 2015.

For further reading, see our books addressing racism and discrimination in our Children’s Collection at Williamson County Public Library:

Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz ; with Renée Watson

Count Me In: A Novel by Varsha Bajaj

Not My Idea : A Book About Whiteness written and illustrated by Anastasia Higginbotham

Where Are You From? by Yamile Saied Méndez ; illustrated by Jaime Kim

We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices edited by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson

~DD, Reference


COVID-19 Drive-through Testing Continues in Williamson County

Franklin, Tenn. – The Williamson County Health Department (WCHD) is continuing to offer free COVID-19 drive-through testing and mask distribution for the community on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Williamson County Agricultural Center located at 4215 Long Lane, Franklin TN.


Public health nurses and/or National Guard and State Guard medics will collect nasal swabs for those who want to be tested, and test results may be available within 72 hours after the samples arrive at the lab, depending on lab volume.  Individuals do not have to present symptoms to be tested.  Masks will continue to be distributed while supplies last. 

In an effort to plan for potentially high testing turnout, large businesses recommending their employees be tested are encouraged to call the Williamson County Public Information line at (615) 595-4880. The line is operational Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Businesses are asked to provide an approximate number of employees that desire to receive a test.

WCHD would like to remind the community to follow CDC guidelines by physically distancing and wearing a mask while in public settings. Businesses should continue to follow Governor Lee’s Tennessee Pledge Guidelines which can be found here:

For developing information, individuals can subscribe to the  Williamson County’s Public Information text opt-in system by texting keyword WCCOVID to 888-777.

TDH is posting updated COVID-19 case numbers by 2 p.m. CDT each day at additional information at and


Visit the Williamson County Emergency Management COVID-19 page online at

Connect with WCEMA on Facebook and Twitter

Williamson County Clerk’s Office Promotes Online Services

Williamson County Clerk Online Services Page

Williamson County has been moving toward a phased reopening of its offices, while continuing to do its part to assist in the protection of the health and safety of citizens and employees. In an effort to promote continued physical distancing and health best practices, the Williamson County Clerk’s Office would like to remind individuals of the online services it provides.

The Clerk’s Office offers an online portal for tag renewals and marriage license applications. To utilize online services, visit:

Individuals who cannot access the online portal, can visit one of the five Renewal Kiosks at the Williamson County recreational facilities:

  • Fairview Recreation Complex, 2714 Fairview Boulevard
  • Franklin Recreation Complex, 1120 Hillsboro Road
  • Indoor Sports Complex in Brentwood, 920 Heritage Way
  • Longview Recreation Center at Spring Hill, 2909 Commonwealth Drive
  • Williamson County Recreation Complex at Nolensville, 7250 Nolensville Road

Each facility is open according to the following modified schedule:

  • Monday – Friday: 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Saturday: 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon
  • Sunday: Closed

Renewal Kiosks are located in facility lobbies.  Whether entering the clerk’s office or a recreation center lobby, a temporal scan will be administered and every individual must answer 5 questions prior to entering a facility. Any person with a temperature registering greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or a positive confirmation to any of the health questions will not be allowed in the facility. Entrance will be based on limited occupant capacities and social distancing practices will be required. Once full occupancy is met, entrance will only be allowed as patrons exit the facility. Patrons are encouraged to bring masks and other protective gear to ensure everyone’s safety.


Visit the Williamson County Emergency Management COVID-19 page online at

or Text WCCOVID to 888-777 for developing information. 

Williamson County Collecting Damage Reports After Severe Weather Event

Powerlines Lines Down


The Williamson County Emergency Management Agency (WCEMA) is looking for the public’s assistance to document damages resulting from the storms on Sunday, May 3 and Monday, May 4. The information will be used to assist the department and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency in collecting consolidated impact information and for the National Weather Service as they assess the damage. Residents can report damage through the established online damage survey:

The survey will collect specific information about:

  • What is damaged
  • Types of damage
  • Extent of damage
  • Location
  • Contact Information

According to the National Weather Service, These storms produced widespread straight-line wind damage across nearly every county of Middle Tennessee, with numerous trees, power lines, and buildings damaged. They stated that a peak wind gust of 71 mph was measured at the Nashville International Airport.

Disaster preparedness and response information can be found on the WCEMA website, Connect with WCEMA on Facebook and Twitter.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month with green ribbon
Word cloud of emotions that impact mental health such as anxiety, grief, etc.
Word cloud of emotions that impact mental health such as anxiety, grief, etc.

May has been observed as Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States since 1949 to reach people through various media, local events, and available resources and screenings. Mental health is something we all should care about. While 1 in 5 will be directly affected by mental illness during their lifetime, we all face challenges, especially now, that impacts our mental health. Mental Health America provides tools for all segments of our society to help care for ourselves and each other.#breakthestigma allows us to share our stories and connect with others

NAMI National Alliance on Mental Illness
National Alliance on Mental Illness

During May the National Alliance of Mental Health joins the medical community to raise mental health awareness – fighting stigma, providing support, educating the public, and advocating for policies to assist those with mental illness and their families.

Using the #NotAlone hashtag, personal stories can be shared, increasing awareness and building connections with digital tools – especially during this climate of physical distancing.

There is ALWAYS a community, you are not alone!

National Suicide Prevention LifeLine 1-800-273-TALK
National Suicide Prevention LifeLine 1-800-273-TALK

Never forget the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) is ALWAYS available to ANYONE. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Find Hope Franklin
Find Hope Franklin

Locally, Find Hope Franklin, offers a starting point for finding multiple resources easily anytime. Find Hope Franklin is a byproduct of City of Franklin’s Mayor Ken Moore’s Blue Ribbon Task Force. It was formed in 2019 to address mental health and substance use issues in Franklin and Williamson County.

On the website, there is a link at the top of the home page to “find help now” for those in immediate crisis. This provides multiple 24/7 crisis phone and text lines.



Cloth Masks to be Distributed at the Williamson County Agricultural Center COVID-19 Testing Site


Franklin, Tenn. – The Williamson County Health Department (WCHD) is distributing free cloth masks at the Williamson County Agricultural Center at 4215 Long Ln, Franklin, TN 37064. Masks will now be distributed at the site, along with continued COVID-19 testing, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and no appointment is necessary.

Those visiting the site can opt to receive a cloth mask, a COVID-19 test, or both.  The cloth masks will be distributed on behalf of Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s Unified Command Group (UCG) and is the first wave of a larger mask distribution effort in Tennessee.

“Anyone with health concerns, or who has concerns about the health of a family member, is invited to come to the Williamson County Ag Center to receive testing for COVID-19 or to receive a State distributed cloth mask,” said Cathy Montgomery, County Director. “Masks and tests will be provided at no cost, and those who come to the Agricultural Center may remain in their vehicles throughout the process.”

Nurses and/or National Guard medics will continue to collect nasal swabs from those who want to be tested, and test results may be available within 72 hours after the samples arrive at the lab, depending on lab volume.

The Franklin and Fairview Health Department Clinics will continue to provide WIC (phone counseling only), primary care services and immunizations for children. COVID-19 testing mask distribution will be provided at the Williamson County Agricultural Center. 


VIDEO: Williamson County COVID-19 Testing PSA

Visit the Williamson County Emergency Management COVID-19 page online at

Connect with WCEMA on Facebook and Twitter


Looking for Tax Help?

anonymous person with binoculars looking through stacked books

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

vita virtual


When you go to the website, , you will be asked to select one of three regional hubs for middle TN.  It will take you to a secure, online portal which can be accessed via smartphone (recommended) or computer.

You will answer questions and upload your documents by taking photos.

Once your submission is received, one of the VITA volunteers will prepare the return and another one will do a quality check.

When it’s ready, they will you a copy of their tax return in a secure manner and go over it with you.

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