J. E. Franklin

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J. E. Franklin
Born Jennie Elizabeth Franklin
(1937-08-10) August 10, 1937 (age 79)
Houston, Texas, USA
Occupation Playwright
Nationality United States
Magnum opus Black Girl
Awards Drama Desk Award (1971–72) for Black Girl

J. E. Franklin (born August 10, 1937) is an American playwright, best known for her play, Black Girl, which was later made into a 1972 feature film.


She was born Jennie Elizabeth Franklin in Houston, Texas, to Robert Franklin and Mathie Randle.[1] Ms. Franklin has written several plays, but is best known for Black Girl. It was originally produced by public television station WGBH, Boston, in 1969. It was staged off-Broadway in 1971 by Shauneille Perry at the New Federal Theatre. Franklin subsequently received a Drama Desk Award for most promising playwright.[2] Her feature-film adaptation of the play was released in 1972.

Her first play to receive a major stage production was Mau Mau Room, which was also directed by Shauneille Perry. It was produced at the Negro Ensemble Company, just prior to Black Girl.[3]

Other plays by Franklin include The In-Crowd, Prodigal Daughter and Cut Out the Lights and Call the Law. Prodigal Daughter was adapted into a musical entitled, Prodigal Sister, which was produced by the Negro Ensemble Company in 1974.[2]


  1. ^ "Texas Birth Index, 1903-1997 [database on-line]". Provo, Utah: The Generations Network. 2005. Retrieved 2009-12-03. 
  2. ^ a b Peterson Jr. (Ed.), Bernard L. (1988). Contemporary Black American Playwrights and Their Plays: A Biographical Directory and Dramatic Index (First ed.). New York, Westport, Connecticut & London: Greenwood Press. pp. 175–177. ISBN 0-313-25190-8. 
  3. ^ Johnson, John H., ed. (April 1973). "Black women 'star' behind scenes in New York drama". Ebony. 6. Chicago, Illinois: Johnson Publishing Company, Inc. 28: 108.