Oral history interview with Ada C. Franklin, 1971


Franklin, Ada C (Interviewee)
La Brie, Henry G (Interviewer)
Oral history interview with Ada C. Franklin, 1971
Other Titles
Reminiscences of Ada C. Franklin : oral history, 1971; Oral history of Ada C. Franklin, 1971
In this 1971 interview with Henry G. La Brie III, Franklin discusses her experience traveling with an African American pageant, her marriage to Chester Arthur Franklin, and the Kansas City Call since her husband’s 1955 death. Franklin begins by describing her upbringing on Clark University’s campus in Atlanta, Georgia as well as her time at Emerson University in Boston. Franklin goes on to discuss Milestones, her African American historical pageant. Franklin toured American cities with Milestones, highlighting one experience of racial understanding in Youngstown, Ohio and a fundraiser for Dr. Katharine Berry Richardson. Franklin goes on to recall her relationship with her husband: how they met, their engagement in 1923, their move to Kansas City in 1925, and their relationship in regards to the Call. She continues with a discussion of the Kansas City Call’s renovations of the newspaper’s offices and celebratory programs with Earl Wilkins and A. Philip Randolph. Franklin describes the improvements made to black newspapers since the Call began as well as continuing challenges, such as advertising. She provides details on the Kansas City Star and its adversarial relationship with other local papers. Franklin also explains the Call's white readership and her desire to report on the concerns of many ethnic groups. Franklin recalls various crusades led by black newspapers, including the fight to have ‘Negro’ written with a capital 'N,' mainstream versus black newspaper reports on black communities, and the importance of black newspaper ownership. Also discussed is a Milestones performance in Texas and the power of music, the Kansas City Call's methods of circulation, sensationalism in news, and the lack of adequate training and salaries for reporters. Franklin concludes with commentary on the importance of reporting on funerals and weddings, the increased political engagement of African Americans, and the subjectivity of news.
Collection Name
Black Journalists oral history collection
Journalists; African American press; African American journalists; African American women journalists; Newspapers--Circulation; Newspaper publishing--Economic aspects--United States; African Americans--Civil rights; Advertising--Newspapers; Kansas City (Mo.); United States Race relations; Franklin, Ada C; Kansas City call
oral histories
Physical Description
sound files : digital preservation master, WAV files (96kHz, 24 bit); 57 pages
Note (Biographical)
Ada C. Franklin (1886-1983) was a publisher of the Kansas City Call and the wife of Chester Arthur Franklin (1880-1955), founder of the Call. Franklin was raised in Atlanta, Georgia. Her father, Dr. William H. Crogman, was Classics Professor at Clark University, and was the first Black President of Clark from 1903 to 1910. Franklin attended Emerson University for Dramatics in Boston in 1907. After graduating, Franklin moved to New York City for a job at the National Playground and Recreational Association of New York, where she created Milestones, an African American Historical Pageant. Franklin met Chester Arthur Franklin in Youngstown, Ohio, one of thirty-five cities Milestones toured in. The two married in Pennsylvania in 1925. Following her husband’s death in 1955, Franklin and Lucile Bluford maintained the Kansas City Call. She died in 1983.
Interviewed by Henry G. La Brie III on August 10, 1971.
Note (Provenance)
Henry G. La Brie III Gift, 1975
Library Location
Columbia Center for Oral History, Columbia University
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Also In
Oral History Archives at Columbia
Time-Based Media
Time-Based Media
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Available digital content for this interview.