Jacquelyn Franklin

Photo courtesy Mary White

Photo courtesy Mary White

Jacquelyn Franklin, a retired professor of social studies, African American studies and urban studies at Jackson State University, died on Aug. 3. Before retiring in 2010, Franklin worked for the university for 37 years, first joining the faculty as an assistant professor of social science in 1976.

She was born Oct. 29, 1944, in New Orleans, La., where she grew up with her two siblings and her parents, Louis Franklin and Cecelia Franklin. She received her bachelor's degree from Xavier University in New Orleans, her master's degree from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, and a Ph.D from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.

"I met Dr. Franklin in 1976 when she came to Jackson State, and she impressed the faculty back then with her ideas and aspirations for the university and the students," Jimmy Bell, a retired professor and founding chairman of Jackson State University's Department of Criminal Sciences, said. "She was deeply concerned about her students and their ability to achieve and heavily promoted the idea of scholarship. She felt there were no limits to what students could achieve and encouraged them to set their sights high on things that were challenging to them.

"She wanted to see them get into chemistry, discover medicines, fight cancer, and she didn't want to pigeonhole anyone to just one area of study. She led people to meet new people and encouraged them to introduce themselves, build their neighborhood and have a humanitarian focus."

In 2006, Franklin received a six-year appointment as a civil service commissioner for the City of Jackson. In 2008, the Department of Justice appointed her as a federal voting rights observer, charged with monitoring polling stations during elections to ensure that all eligible voters were permitted to vote and that their votes were being tabulated. In 2009, she was elected vice president of the Association of Social and Behavioral Scientists. She was also a licensed real-estate broker and a longtime member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. 

"Jacquelyn was a bold and old-school educator who provided a lifetime of experiences for her students, and she had a special passion for working with urban areas and inner cities," Mary White, chairperson of Jackson State University's Department of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management, said. "She was an out-of-the-box thinker who inspired her students to make a difference, and she loved life and being at JSU. She had a motherly instinct for her students and wanted to involve them in everything, and everyone here had a profound respect for her."


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