City Council honors new Miss America’s Winston-Salem roots

City Council honors new Miss America’s Winston-Salem roots
September 20
05:00 2018

Mayor Allen Joines and the Winston-Salem City Council honored Miss America, Nia lmani Franklin, for her local roots during their Monday night meeting.

Her parents, James and Kristy Franklin, accepted the resolution declaring Sept. 17, 2018, as “Winston-Salem Native Ms. Nia lmani Franklin Day.”

“It’s still so unbelievable, but we knew that as we saw things progress, it’s nobody but God that helped her to get to that level and propelled her there,” Kristy Franklin said about her daughter. “To keep her there, we just continue to need your prayers.”

Franklin is a graduate of North Davidson High School. She attended college at East Carolina University (ECU), where she earned a bachelor’s degree in music composition. She then attended University of North Carolina School for the Arts (UNCSA), where she earned the Campus Arts Scholarship and the Beth Stovall Music Scholarship, named after a former Miss North Carolina. While at UNCSA, she was a Kenan Fellow at the Lincoln Center Education in New York City. Franklin graduated summa cum laude from UNCSA with a Master’s degree in music composition.

Nia Franklin has a long history of using her talents to help others, including participating in ArtistCorps, an artist-driven AmeriCorps service program that works with high-need students. At Mount Zion Baptist Church, where she is a baptized member, she served as Children’s Choir assistant director and Youth Ensemble president. She was also an instructor in the Salvation Army Summer Music Conservatory, founder of Success Academy Music Club and organizer of a concert fundraiser for cancer research. She helped raise more than $40,000 for the Ronald McDonald House of New York.

Her father was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2011. Nia Franklin underwent a procedure to donate stem cells to him at Duke University Hospital, which was his only chance of survival. He is now cancer-free.

In 2016, Franklin was crowned Miss Capital City in Raleigh and competed in the Miss North Carolina pageant. This year, she was crowned Miss New York in June and Miss America on Sept. 9, which she won with a platform of advocating for the arts. She’s the fourth Miss New York to win the crown in the last seven years. 

Stacy M. Brown, a contributor to NNPA (National Newspaper Publishers Association) Newswire, reported that Nia Franklin became the first Miss America in the post-swimsuit era.

“It took a lot of perseverance to get here,” Franklin said after her win. “I want to thank my beautiful family, my mom and my dad, who is a survivor of cancer.”

During the competition, Franklin described how music helped her find her identity.

“I grew up at a predominately Caucasian school and there was only five percent minority, and I felt out of place so much because of the color of my skin,” Franklin said. “But growing up, I found my love of arts, and through music that helped me to feel positive about myself and about who I was.”

Her win set Twitter and all of social media ablaze.

“Congratulations to our new Miss America,” famed radio and television personality Donnie Simpson said. “Nia Franklin represented New York and won the crown last night. She’s obviously very smart, very talented and absolutely stunning. I’m so proud.”

Another popular radio show host, Michael Lyle, Jr., also couldn’t contain his joy for Franklin.

“Huge congratulations. Well-deserved and another reason why Black Girls Rock,” Lyle said.

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., the president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association – the trade organization that represents 220 African American-owned newspapers across the country, including The Chronicle – said Franklin’s win is just another statement on the outstanding achievements of black women today.

“The NNPA Congratulates 2018 Miss America, Nia Franklin. The genius, intelligence, beauty and spirit of Black women impact and transform the world,” Chavis tweeted.

Franklin, who plans to advocate for the arts during her tenure as Miss America, told reporters that she was also happy that the swimsuit competition – which had been part of the overall contest throughout its 92-year history – had been discontinued.

“I’m happy I didn’t have to wear a swimsuit,” she said. “I’m more than just that.”

NNPA Newswire contributed to this report.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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