( 1937- )
Born and raised in Houston, Texas, J. e. Franklin graduated from the University of Texas. In addition to her dramatic works, Franklin has written an autobiographical account delineating the transformation of her first major work, Black Girl, from video to stage and ultimately to screen in Black Girl: From Genesis to Revelations.
Franklin has also taught full-time at the University of Iowa and the City University of New York. Other academic positions include resident director at Skidmore College and playwright in residence at Brown University. She is a resident scholar at the Arthur A. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City.
J. e. Franklin's plays provide penetrating glimpses into a panorama of African American life. Black Girl is Franklin's portrayal of an embittered and dysfunctional Texas family. Billie Jean, an aspiring dancer, dreams of escape from her upbringing but is systematically defeated by her nasty mother and wicked step- sisters in this modern update of the Cinderella story.
In The Prodigal Sister, Franklin creates a contemporary musical that relies on rhymed dialogue approaching a rap beat and musical numbers using a dowop group for backup. Drawing on undisguised religious parallels, the plot traces Jackie's physical and spiritual journey. Driven from her home after her mother learns that she is pregnant, the runaway Jackie falls prey to a series of trials and tribulations in the big city. While Jackie seeks a way to return home, her parents begin to regret the harsh treatment of their daughter. Jackie's friends