Chester Arthur Franklin was a leading African American editor and publisher of the Kansas City Call, who used his newspaper platform to advocate for systemic change and equity, both for Kansas City’s black community and for African Americans nationwide. By the time of his death in 1955, Franklin had served as a prominent publisher over 30 years and was heavily impressed in Kansas City’s memory as an editor, activist, and leader.
Franklin, Chester A.
“The black schools [in Kansas City] were much better than they had any right to be, partly because they were full of talented teachers who would have been teaching in college had they been white, and partly because Negro parents and children simply refused to be licked by segregation.” Then-reporter Roy Wilkins’s statement about education in the Kansas City area aptly summarizes the unjust obstacles that segregation created for black students, their parents, and educators at the segregated schools of Kansas City.
Letter from University of Missouri president Frederick A. Middlebush to Kansas City Call editor Chester A. Franklin in response to Franklin's letter of May 21.
Letter from Kansas City Call editor Chester A. Franklin to University of Missouri president Frederick A. Middlebush, discussing the importance and impetus of the Lucile Bluford case against the university.
Tenth Anniversary and "Progress Edition" of the Kansas City Call newspaper. The paper includes stories about crime and political news, social and church updates, sports stories, and advertisements for local businesses, groceries, and cosmetic products. A spread on page B-3 includes a statement from editor and publisher C. A.
Photograph of Thomas Y. Baird (left, co-owner of the Kansas City Monarchs), Chester A. Franklin (center, owner of The Call), and James L. Wilkinson (right, founder of the Kansas City Monarchs) reviewing a petition in The Call to "Save Negro Baseball". During WWII, the U.S.
The first edition of the Kansas City Call or The Call, was published on May 6, 1919. It was one of 22 newspapers published by Kansas City’s African American community near the beginning of the 20th century, but the only one that survived past 1943. Starting as an inauspicious four-page paper, the paper soon grew to one of the most successful black newspapers in the nation.
On August 30, 1901, Roy Wilkins was born in St. Louis, Missouri. From a modest background, Wilkins would go on to graduate from the University of Minnesota, become the editor of The Call newspaper, and lead the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for more than two decades at the height of the civil rights movement.
Photograph of Chester A. Franklin standing by the door of the Kansas City Call Building. The vantage point faces west on the south side of 18th Street with Lucille's Tavern in the background.
Photograph of The Call newspaper staff outside of their office at 1715 E. 18th Street. Lucile Bluford is shown top row, fourth from left. Chester Franklin is shown seated, front center.
Letter from Chester Franklin, editor of "The Call" calling his attention to an enclosed article about Tom Pendergast.
Letter from Lloyd C. Stark to Chester A. Franklin, editor of The Call newspaper, offering to discuss further his suggestions "concerning the need of better educational facilities for the Negroes in Missouri."