For other people named William Franklin, see William Franklin (disambiguation).
William Franklin (born 1906, date of death unknown) was an opera singer who was considered to be a pioneering African American in the Chicago music scene. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee. Franklin began playing trombone and singing in jazz groups after completing high school. After an auto accident he took up voice and enrolled at the Chicago Conservatory of Music.
He performed with La Julia Rhea in a 1937 production of Verdi's Aida at the Chicago Civic Opera. Franklin often appeared in other productions of the company and in the operetta performances of Gilbert and Sullivan works.
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