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The Porchlight February/March 2024

February is Black History Month

February is a time to focus and reflect on the contributions of African Americans to our history and culture. For 2024, the national theme of focus is African Americans and the Arts. Below is just a small sample of the many, great accomplishments and contributions African American's have made to the arts. We hope this inspires each of you to research, revisit and appreciate the legacies that these and other talented African American artists have left for us to experience.

Fine Arts

Alma Thomas (1891-1978) is the first African American student to receive a degree from the art department at Howard University in Washington, D.C. In 1972, she was the first black woman to have a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in New York (at the age of 80). Her medium of art was abstract painting in acrylics and watercolors.

Alma Thomas Picture Alma Thomas
Above is a picture of Alma Thomas and an image of her painting titled "Blast Off". Please click here for a detailed biography and examples of Alma Thomas's work. Alma Thomas ' Smithsonian American Art Museum (


Gordon Parks (1912-2006) was the first African American Photographer for LIFE Magazine. Gordon's career spanned more than 60 years. He covered Civil Rights, race and poverty issues while also covering high fashion. He was also the first African American to write and direct a Hollywood Film ("The Learning Tree").

Gordon Parks Self Portrait 1941

 Gordon Parks' Self Portrait, 1941 








 Artistic Photograph of Muhammad Ali
Parks' photo of Ali appeared in the 1966 Life Magazine Profile, "The  Redemption of a Champion"








Please click here to visit The Gordon Parks Foundation for an in-depth biography of Gordon Parks and his work.



Big Joe Turner (1911-1985) Big Joe Turner is credited with starting Rock 'n Roll. He sang for pennies on street corners, bartended and sang behind the counters. Because of singing in these noisy locations, he developed a loud style/voice to be heard. 

Big Joe Turner Portrait

Turner signed with Atlantic Records in 1951 and released one of his biggest hits Shake Rattle And Roll in 1954.


Sam Cooke (1912-2006) Sam Cooke was hailed as the King of Soul and was one of musics first Superstars. Cooke is credited with inspiring acts like Al Green, Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder.

Sam Cooke.Portrait

Songs by Sam Cooke:
Please click the song title to listen.

"A Change is Gonna Come," 1964
"Twistin the Night Away," 1961
"You Were Made for Me," 1958



An Hymn To The Morning
Attend my lays, ye ever honour'd nine,
Assist my labours, and my strains refine;
In smoothest numbers pour the notes along,
For bright Aurora now demands my song.  
Aurora hail, and all the thousand dies,
Which deck thy progress through the vaulted skies:
The morn awakes, and wide extends her rays,
On ev'ry leaf the gentle zephyr plays;
Harmonious lays the feather'd race resume,
Dart the bright eye, and shake the painted plume.  
Ye shady groves, your verdant gloom display
To shield your poet from the burning day:
Calliope awake the sacred lyre,
While thy fair sisters fan the pleasing fire:
The bow'rs, the gales, the variegated skies
In all their pleasures in my bosom rise.  
See in the east th' illustrious king of day!
His rising radiance drives the shades away-
But Oh! I feel his fervid beams too strong,
And scarce begun, concludes th' abortive song.

Author: Phillis Wheatley


An Hymm to the Evening
SOON as the sun forsook the eastern main
The pealing thunder shook the heav'nly plain;
Majestic grandeur! From the zephyr's wing,
Exhales the incense of the blooming spring.
Soft purl the streams, the birds renew their notes,
And through the air their mingled music floats.
Through all the heav'ns what beauteous dies are spread!
But the west glories in the deepest red:
So may our breasts with ev'ry virtue glow,
The living temples of our God below!
Fill'd with the praise of him who gives the light,
And draws the sable curtains of the night,
Let placid slumbers sooth each weary mind,
At morn to wake more heav'nly, more refin'd;
So shall the labours of the day begin
More pure, more guarded from the snares of sin.
Night's leaden sceptre seals my drowsy eyes,
Then cease, my song, till fair Aurora rise.

                            Author: Phillis Wheatley


Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784) is considered the first African American author of a published book of poetry. She was the third woman in the United States to have her written work published. To Learn more about Phillis Wheatley and see a larger sample of her poetry, please visit The Poetry Foundation by clicking here.

Important Reminderes to Our Residents

Yellow notepad with reminder written on it

  • Rent is due on the 1st
  • Late fees apply after the 10th, 5th for Reddick Street
  • Pest Control Services are on the third Tuesday of every month.

Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program

Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) is a program to assist the residents with budgeting, saving and establishing goals and plans to improve their livelihood. FSS also assists with homeownership for qualified residents.

The primary goal is to find and/or maintain employment, save money, budget, and increase credit scores. FSS also provides information regarding credit agencies, credit scores, banking, mortgage, realtors, Habitat for Humanity, and various agencies. Most FSS participants are working towards becoming a homeowner. Some participants are taking a career path and furthering their education by obtaining certificates or degrees. 

FSS believes for individuals to be successful accomplishing goals, there needs to be focus, discipline, and accountability for actions.

This program is designed to provide you with information, training skills, techniques, and relationships that will assist you in becoming self-sufficient through education, employment and homeownership and provides opportunities to connect with community resources, professionals and other like-minded people that have their best interest at heart.

Goals sign hanging on clothes line

To get started:

Schedule an appointment with FHA's FSS Coordinator, Becky McDonald: Click here to email Becky or call 615-794-1247 ext. 231.

This program is available to the residents of Franklin Housing Authority. The program is voluntary, and the residents will be on a 5-year plan under the Contract of Participation. Participants may complete the FSS Program before the 5-year contract has expired.  During the FSS Program a participant, if eligible will establish an escrow account that may assist them with a down payment for a home or to be used for educational purposes. Participants do not have to be employed at time of enrolling into the program. To complete the program, participants will need to be employed and off of any welfare cash assistance before or by the end of the 5-year contract.

Franklin Housing Collaborative (FHC) -The Future is OURS Scholarship Program

Colorful Multi-Story School Building







Do you have a high school student?

Upon high school graduation would your student be in the need of additional funds for higher education?

If you answered yes, to one or both questions above the Franklin Housing Collaborative Future is OURS Scholarship Program is for you!


Who is eligible

-All high school students graduating with a high school diploma living within the FHA, Park Street, Reddick Apartments are eligible.

-The student must be listed on a current lease   

-Earn minimum cumulative points throughout their four-year high school career.

-Enroll in and attend a U.S. post-secondary institution directly after high school graduation.


  What is the Purpose of the FHC FOURS Scholarship Program?


The purpose of this program is to help fill the financial gaps that other awarded grants and scholarships may not cover toward a student's college education. The funds are available to be used during the time a student is enrolled in some form of higher education (2yr, 4yr, or trade school).  All students successfully completing the program are granted a minimum of $1,000 per year of higher education and up to $5,000 per year. 

If you would like to enroll in the FSS program or the have a high school student in 9th grade up to 12th grade that would like to participate in the FOURS Scholarship Program contact Mrs. Tena Payne at 615-764-1247 ext. 212.

FHA Office Closures

February 19th - Presidents Day

Presidents Day with top hats and scrolling

March 29th- Good Friday

Good Friday written in black script

Educational Opportunities

Stack of books with globe, scissors and pencilsBegin Anew offers GED training, computer classes, and ELL. Class locations are held at 1350 West Main Street, Franklin, TN. Please call 615-977-8908 for the women's program or 615-687-0953 for men's program. For more information, please visit the Begin Anew's website at

Workforce Essentials offers High School Equivalency Diploma (Hi-set), computer classes, and ESL. Class location is 118 Seaboard Lane, Franklin, TN. For more information on their courses, please call Workforce Essentials at 615-790-3311 or visit their website at

Columbia State Community College is a 2-year college, located at 1228 Liberty Pike, Franklin, TN. For more information on courses, please contact their office at 615-790-4400 or visit their website at

Employment & Training Opportunities


Training written in multiple colors


Goodwill Training Services - Construction Training

February 19th - FREE

Click here to learn  more and sign-up. Construction - Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc. (


Goodwill Financial Literacy Class

February 13th or March 12th

Click here for more information. Financial Literacy - Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc. (



Hand holding job sign on aqua background


Goodwill Store Associate, Brentwood, TN 

Shift Leader

Click here to learn more or apply.


Goodwill Store Associate, Brentwood, TN 

Employment Opportunity

Click here to learn more or apply.


Local Activities & Events

Kids Art FestivalArtist Palette with paint swatches and paint brushe
March 23, 2024, 10am - 2pm
Pinkerton Park, 405 Murfreesboro Rd.
Do you dance, act, sing, play and instrument, or write poetry? We are looking for talented groups and individuals to perform on the stage at the Kids Arts Festival of Tennessee. Whether you are a seasoned performer or just starting out, we would like to highlight the variety of talent in Tennessee.

Several area organizations and businesses generously offer their time and financial support to allow festival attendees the opportunity to experience the arts in new and unique ways. 

The Kids Arts Festival of Tennessee allows for young artists to showcase their artwork to festival goers. We welcome all Tennessee K - 12 artists to apply to display your original pieces in this juried exhibit.  Winning pieces will be displayed in Downtown Franklin at the Fire Hall Art Gallery, located inside City Hall. 


Please click here for more information or if you would like to submit an arts exhibit application.

Volunteers are also needed. There is additional information posted on how to become a volunteer here.