The Chattanooga History Center has announced that its 9th Annual History Makers Award will honor John P. Franklin, Sr. The award recognizes local individuals or groups who have made significant contributions to Chattanooga, the region, the state, or the country.
Past honorees include Ruth Holmberg, Rev. Paul McDaniel, and Dalton Roberts; Mr. & Mrs. Jack T. Lupton and the Lyndhurst Foundation; the Howard High School Student Led Sit-Ins of 1960; Fletcher Bright and the Dismembered Tennesseans; the Legacy of the William E. Brock, Sr. Family; Chattanooga Venture and Vision 2000; the Legacy of Mose and Garrison Siskin; and the McCallie Family Legacy.
The award, represented by an original sculpture by Cessna Decosimo, will be presented at a luncheon at 11:30am-1:00pm, Wednesday, November 5th, at the Chattanooga Convention Center. The History Makers Luncheon is the History Center’s only operations fundraiser of the year. Individual reservations will be accepted beginning October 1st. Sponsorships are available.
For information, call (423) 265-3247.
John P. Franklin, Sr. has been one of Chattanooga's education, business and political leaders for more than 60 years. Son of G. W. Franklin, an undertaker and pioneering leader in the city's thriving African American business community of the late 19th and early 20th century, John has been one of Chattanooga's most consistent voices for respect, compassion, and community spirit.
As principal at William J. Davenport Elementary school and as the first principal of Alton Park Junior High School, later renamed in his honor, he molded young people's lives. As a business man, he helped countless families through heartbreaking loss.
Having gained the admiration and respect of the community, he was elected Commissioner of Education and Health in 1970, and the overwhelming number of votes he received earned him the position of Vice Mayor of the City of Chattanooga, where he served for 14 years. As a politician, he helped turn the tide against the city's exclusion of African Americans from political office that dated to the Jim Crow inspired laws of 1910 that effectively shut the city's black community out of public office.