Voice: Marianne Franklin

Marianne Franklin is Les Franklin’s wife and the daughter of the late James Ward, a former principal at Manuel High School and tireless advocate for black youth.

“My father was always at meetings at night and on the weekends. There were always people at our house talking to him about what needed to be done.”

I decided when I was still in high school that I never wanted to be a teacher, social worker, counselor or fight for any community cause. I saw how hard my father worked to make a positive difference, to open up opportunities for youth and those less fortunate.

It was a constant struggle. My father was always at meetings at night and on the weekends. There were always people at our house talking to him about what needed to be done or how to help this person or that person who was facing something adverse. He was always on the telephone. He worked late meeting with parents and teachers. He was always writing down, creating new programs for kids to learn.

I missed my father and wanted him in my life more. Even though he and my mother never missed anything that my sister and I were involved in, he was tired a lot of the time. Everyone knew him and everyone knew my sister and I. We were always under the microscope.

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