Franklin Ojeda Smith
Photos with Franklin Ojeda Smith
Born on the Sea Islands of South Carolina, Franklin and his siblings joined their mother in the 'Fort Apache' section of the South Bronx, New York in 1953. A native Gullah speaker, Franklin says, "my dialect was so rich that I was put into classes with students who only spoke Spanish and the teacher spoke neither." Early on he met life long friends and was "adopted" into a Puerto Rican family (The Ojedas). In the South Bronx, he attended the same junior (P.S. 52) and high schools (Morris) as General Colin Powell. Read more... excelled as a baseball player (he won a national batting championship) but more importantly, he found his grounding in academic life. He is a professor of sociology and has been at Stockton University for over 40 years. But he says, "I avoided my secret passion since my early teenage years; then when I was 55, cancer ran me down. I had an epiphany. I said YES!" Franklin explains that "back in the day" the 'barb wire' was more visible" and he chose baseball over acting; then academia and not baseball. After his battle with cancer, Dr. Smith made his stage debut in the role of 'Troy' in August Wilson's Fences; other stage roles followed. Franklin believes his professorial career truly compliments his actor training both of which are preparatory to his ongoing journey.