Former City Education Commissioner John P. Franklin Dies

Thursday, June 21, 2018
John P. Franklin
John P. Franklin

John Porter Franklin, long a leading figure in Chattanooga city government, has died.  He was the city's first, elected black official, post Jim Crow laws, in 1971.

Mr. Franklin's father, G.W. Franklin, was a pioneer funeral home director and John Franklin continued in that line. He was first an official in Franklin-Strickland Funeral Home, then he started John P. Franklin Funeral Home with his son and daughter. 

Mr. Franklin attended East Fifth Street School and is a graduate of Howard High School.  Upon graduating from Howard, he attended Tuskegee Institute for two years before beginning service in the Army in 1942.  Upon returning to Chattanooga after World War II, he worked for the family business his father had founded, Franklin Funeral Home.  Because his mother was a teacher for many years in the Chattanooga School System, Mr. Franklin was determined to complete his education.  In 1950 he earned a bachelor’s of science degree in physical education from Fisk University and subsequently earned a master’s degree in education and health in 1951 from Indiana University. 

Mr. Franklin, again, returned home to work in the family business and also applied for a job with the city school system.  After serving as a coach and teacher at Orchard Knob Junior High School, Mr. Franklin was selected to head the physical education program for black secondary schools of the city.  In 1960, he was named principal of W.J. Davenport School and a year later went to Alton Park Junior High School as principal.  A position held until 1971.   

In 1971, Mr. Franklin entered the city’s political arena, successfully running for Commissioner of Education and Health, holding the position for 20 years.  As a recipient of the highest number of votes among successful commission candidates, he served as vice-mayor for four of five year terms.  During this same period of time, Mr. Franklin served as chairman of the City School Board and in 1981, served as president of the Tennessee School Boards Association.  Upon leaving the government stage in 1991, he returned to assist other family members with operating the family business.

Mr. Franklin was the recipient of numerous awards and honors from many professional and civic groups for his educational and civic involvement.  In addition, he received recognition and awards from several organizations and institutions for meritorious service and business leadership in the community and state.  

Mr. Franklin had two children and four grandchildren. 

Former Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield said, "Chattanooga’s relatively quiet transition through the tumultuous era of civil rights toward becoming a more open and inclusive community was made possible by the stately presence, wise guidance and steady hand of John Franklin Sr. It was my privilege to serve with him on the last City Commission as we turned the page and ushered in the more representative City Council. He was a quiet and heroic leader through difficult times. The modern city that we enjoy today owes him a great debt."



The Livery Stable, Modern Auto Dealer Featured In New Chattanooga Historic Photo Book

A new book of old Chattanooga photos sponsored by Chattanoogan.com will feature a vehicular history of the city spanning the livery stables to the modern auto dealer. It includes a number of photos of horse and mule "sale stables" as well as dealers like D.S. Etheridge, Bert Brown, John Hicks and Amos and Andy Buick. Some "filling stations" are featured as well, including ... (click for more)

Cofrancesco Loses Appeal Ordering Him To Begin Serving 9-Year Sentence For Wreck In Which Motorcyclist Was Killed

A man police said struck and killed a motorcyclist was booked Monday at the County Jail on a custody order after the Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled against his appeal of his sentence. He was later released, but has a certain amount of days before starting to serve the term. The Appeals Court upheld a nine-year sentence handed down by Criminal Court Judge Don Poole against Henry ... (click for more)

Why I'm Voting Republican And So Should You

For much of my life, the commitment to the Democratic Party has puzzled me. I was raised to analyze both sides of issues and to make an intelligent decision based upon that information. The values of self-reliance, hard work, and individual liberty that I grew up with were the same American values that have made this country exceptional. As I have grown older, I have witnessed ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: UT’s Genius Stroke

If all goes as (very carefully) planned, the most dynamic president to be hired at the University of Tennessee since the legendary Andy Holt retired in 1970, will be ushered into office today by the university’s board of trustees. The selection of Randy Boyd to take over his ala mater is a genius stroke and certainly seems to solidify two of life’s greatest truths. The first ... (click for more)

Balanced Baylor Sweeps Father Ryan In Volleyball

We’re getting closer and closer to the end of high school volleyball season, so it’s no real surprise that the Baylor girls are clicking on all cylinders. The Lady Red Raiders took another step toward being the top-seeded team in their region on Monday night with a methodical 3-0 win over Father Ryan, the defending state champs winning by scores of 25-17, 25-13 and 25-11. ... (click for more)

UTC's Cooper Named SoCon Player Of The Week

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga junior linebacker Marshall Cooper is the Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Week, the league office announced today.  Cooper's efforts helped the Mocs post a 27-20 win over No. 17 Samford  on Saturday  at Finley Stadium. Cooper recorded eight tackles, forced fumble and intercepted a pass to help UTC improve ... (click for more)