She grew up in a segregated neighborhood in Tampa, but it was one in which many blacks, her father included, owned their own businesses and homes. She came to Madison in 1970, after getting her master's in social work from Florida State University, and began working for the Oregon School for Girls, a state correctional institution.
She was a member of the Democratic Party who called herself a conservative, stressing that blacks must "look more to themselves to solve problems within their own communities." She ran a real estate business with her husband, served as secretary of the local NAACP, and in 1991 launched a weekly newspaper called The Madison Times.
Franklin-Hammonds was the paper's publisher until her death in 1999. Writer Steve Korris remembered her in our pages: "Her generous spirit did not falter, her love and kindness did not fail."