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Mary Franklin: A Survivor of her Husband’s Murder

Adya Menon

15th October 2020

On October 16th, 1996 Boston, Melvin Franklin, a former notable musician, was fatally shot in the street just two blocks away from his home. The police never arrested for his murder. His wife, Mary, was so close to the incident that she heard the gunshots that killed her husband of over a decade. Twenty Four years later, there has still not been any progress made in the case, though the enquiry remains officially open. Mary Franklin spent those two decades working in the New England area for other women whose husbands were murdered without resolution like hers.

Mary Franklin wearing a pin with Franklin’s face (Source: The Boston Herald)

Franklin was diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon Cancer earlier this year. Still, the many organisations and groups she started to remain active in and around Boston to help women that went through the same experiences she did. Her focus has been on helping women through the police and court procedures, supporting victims after the incident, and appealing for a legal and administrative change in the laws of the New England area.

According to a 2018 investigative report by The Washington Post, since 2008, in 52 of the US’s major cities, 26,000 people have been murdered without police making any arrests in the case. Of these unsolved murders, over 18,600 of the victims were black. “This has to change, right? Black lives matter. Even when another black life took the black life, they all have to matter”, she said in an interview with Buzzfeed Network.

Mrs Franklin and many other women like her are encouraged to make annual visits to their city’s Police headquarters for a review of their partner’s cases. After one such visit, she spoke of how useless this activity feels. “It’s just so draining. Sitting there, talking to detectives about a murder”, she told a BuzzFeed journalist. When asked whether it was productive, she said, “It’s the same old, you know? “We don’t know anything new, we’ll call you if we do”. One of her main objectives has been to gather better support and help from the Police in her community. According to her, some of the police will seem interested while many would seem apathetic or outright rude. She also mentioned the involuntary discomfort many black victims feel in the Law enforcement and legal systems because the vast majority of such workers are white.

One of Franklin’s most recent ventures has been a ‘Trauma Spa’, a therapy facility designed to help impoverished women who have trauma-related PTSD. It aims to give mental healthcare to women who cannot afford it. To this end, she met with Gov. Charlie Baker, seeking a $400,000 grant to fund T Spa, a 12-week pilot program that would collect data by treating up to 300 women who have PTSD due to a loved one’s murder. This facility remains to be approved by the Boston City officials.

News Sources: The Boston Herald, Buzzfeed Network, Boston25 News

Edited by: Aayush Lahoti

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