The Franklin Collection contains letters, photographs, clippings and personal papers of Chester and Ada Franklin. The Franklins traveled extensively, and often separately. The love letters they exchanged reveal their relationship and times in which they lived. Please enjoy Black Archives of Mid-America's first collection to go online.
Ada Crogman Franklin (1886-1983) 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.
Missouri's First Blacks
The first Black slaves to enter what would later be named Missouri arrived in 1719 as unwilling participants in the new French mining venture. Des Ursins bought five Blacks with him, and although he failed to find the silver mines he sought, he did discover several rich lead deposits. In 1720, Phillippe Fransois Renault was sent from France to direct lead-mining operations. He may have brought with him as many as 500 Black slaves from the French island of Haiti. These were the first permanent Black residents of Missouri. The Company of the West contracted to supply Renault with 25 additional Blacks annually. By 1725, Renault's mines were yielding 1,500 pounds of lead per day.
The French Explorers
Chester Arthur Franklin (1880-1955) founded The Call newspaper in May 1919. It was owned and operated by him until his death on May 7, 1955.
Born on June 7, 1880, Chester Franklin was the only child of George F. Franklin, a barber, and Clara Belle Williams Franklin, a teacher. He was born at the time when African Americans were moving out of Texas in search of better educational opportunities for their children.
Someone has said, "An organization is but the lengthened shadow of one man." Behind any successful institution usually lies the guiding genius of an individual who had a dream and a plan.
The Call is no exception. Chester A. Franklin founded The Call newspaper in April 1919 and remained its active head and guiding spirit for 36 years.