Ada Crogman Franklin

Ada Crogman Franklin was born in Atlanta, Georgia, one of eight children of Dr. and Mrs. William H. Crogman. Her father, one of the distinguished scholars of the African American race, was professor of Latin and Greek at Clark University for 37 years and then became the first African American president of Clark, serving for seven years. Mrs. Franklin, along with her two sisters and five brothers, grew up on the Clark University campus.

Ada Crogman Franklin
Ada Crogman Franklin. Courtesy of the Black Archives of Mid-America.

Following her graduation from Clark, which is now part of the Atlanta University system, Mrs. Franklin entered Emerson College in Boston where she majored in dramatic art. Upon completing her studies at Emerson, she was employed as a dramatics specialist with the National Playground and Recreation Association of New York. Her job with this association included extensive travel throughout the country to unearth African American talent in drama. She became so interested and enthusiastic over the talented persons she discovered that she decided to write and produce a pageant depicting the history of her race and the contributions that African American people have made to America. Before she began her drama career, Mrs. Franklin taught at the Alabama State College and Tennessee State University.

Mrs. Franklin became nationally known for her production, "Milestones of a Race," which was presented in cities throughout the country. She traveled the length and breadth of the land, developing local casts and training local talent for the leading roles in the pageant. It was while she was engaged in this work that she met Mr. Franklin, a native of Texas, who finally made Kansas City his home after living in Omaha and Denver for a number of years. Ada Crogman and Chester Franklin were married in 1925 in Atlanta, and Mrs. Franklin came to Kansas City as a bride. After her marriage she began to devote her talent and her interest to the Kansas City community in general and to The Call in particular.

After the death of Mr. Franklin in 1955, Mrs. Franklin inspired the staff to continue the tradition of her husband whose policy was to operate a clean, family newspaper. From its inception 64 years ago, The Call's news policy has been constructive, and Mrs. Franklin played a role in maintaining that posture.

In 1969, Mrs. Franklin was presented the Curators' Award in Journalism by the Department of Journalism at Lincoln University in Jefferson City. In June of 1973, she was awarded the NNPA Distinguished Publishers award at the annual convention of the National Association of Newspaper Publishers in Houston, Texas.

In 1982, Mrs. Franklin contributed her father's collection of books and paintings to Clark University.


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