Rev. E. M. Franklin, Sr. was the fifth pastor of St. James Missionary Baptist Church. His dedication to Kingdom Building motivated him in 1968 to relocate to 1812 Redwood Avenue when an influx of young people began attending. His passion for youth, however, began at home with his seven children, whom he loved dearly and supported their educational endeavors. He encouraged all young people to further their education and to use their gifts to the glory of God.
He, himself, also sought to empower his own ministry of the Word by studying and receiving a Bachelor of Theology degree from the Institutional Baptist Theological Center in Houston, Texas and at Samuel Huston College in Austin.
In 1986 with the ministry continuing to flourish, a new edifice was erected next door to the first building and was named Franklin Chapel in his honor. Rev. Franklin departed this life on December 20, 1992. To keep his legacy alive, shortly after his death, the street was renamed from Redwood Avenue to E.M. Franklin Avenue.
Additionally, St. James established and paid in full a $25,000.00 Endowed Scholarship at Huston-Tillotson College (now University) for the purpose of supporting young ministers in continuing their education. Known as the Preacher with a heart of gold, our lives were greatly enriched through Rev. Franklin’s ministry at St. James. His memory lives on even today as we, particularly, reflect on his favorite words, “It’s just nice to be nice.”