The groundwork of Franklin Institute began in San Antonio in 1915 when Madame N.A. Franklin started teaching young Black women cosmetology in their homes. At the time, Mme. Franklin was one of the few merchants in Texas to offer Black beauty products to Black patrons. Throughout the next five years Mme. Franklin pushed her business forward and opened the school’s first locations in Houston and Dallas.
She moved to Chicago in the early 1920s to broaden her career. The business in Chicago was handed down to her daughter, Abby, and son-in-law, J.H. Jemison, in 1934, after Mme. Franklin passed away. The following year J.H. and Abby Jemison closed the Chicago location, moved to Houston, and purchased the Houston business from Mme Franklin’s ex-husband.
Franklin Institute (formerly Franklin Beauty School) prospered for the next 34 years. Ronald Jemison Sr. and his wife Glenda became school owners in 1969 and paved the way for future generations of Jemison family ownership. Ron Jemison Jr. and his brother Sean officially entered the business in 1999. They are the fourth generation of Mme. Franklin’s family to join the beauty enterprise. Ron Jemison Jr. and his wife Zameika are the fourth-generation Franklin Institute owners.
The Jemison family’s fifth-generation has started working at Franklin. Brea, daughter of Zameika and Ron Jemison Jr., is a licensed stylist. Brea’s salon business BeeCrowned has been in operation for three years.