Chattanooga City Council to rename building after John P. Franklin
Correction: A previous version of this story identified John P. Franklin as a plaintiff in Brown v. Board of Commissioners of the City of Chattanooga. Franklin was a witness in that trial. The story also stated that Franklin was the first African American elected city-wide. Franklin was the city's first elected African American city commissioner. The story also stated that after being elected, Franklin was asked by the mayor at the time to move his office to the basement. Family members dispute that claim.
On June 25, 2019, Chattanooga City Council will rename their gathering place on Lindsay Street after one of the city's most influential and significant African American leaders.
John P. 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.
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 his arrival back to the Tennessee Valley, Franklin pursued a career in education. Franklin continued in the family funeral home business his father started in 1894 as the first black undertaker in Chattanooga.
Franklin served as the commissioner of education and health before going on to serve as the city's vice mayor.
He was president of the Tennessee School Boards Association and was the first black president of the Tennessee Municipal League.
John Porter Franklin died on June 21, 2018, at the age of 96.
The dedication ceremony will take place at 5:15 in front of the Chattanooga City Council Chambers.