Rosa Belle Franklin Prince was born in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 23, 1929. The fourth child of Deacon Claude Franklin and Deaconess Cynthia Lowe Franklin (both deceased), Rosa’s siblings were Paul Franklin, who died in infancy, Lucy Franklin Jefferson and Helen Franklin Haskins, both of whom are also deceased. Rosa is survived by her husband, Lonnie Richardson Prince, son Christopher Prince, daughter Dr. Sabiyha Prince, sons-in-law Dr. Steven Eversley and her granddaughters, Mariama Sojourner Eversley and Thandiwe Harriet Eversley. She is also survived by family members, Lee Folia Fletcher, Sarah Harley, and Terry Handy, and will be missed by a host of family members and friends.
Rosa and her siblings were products of The Great Migration. Her father left the Jim Crow south to provide a better life for his wife and children. Claude and Cynthia Franklin worked a host of jobs to provide for their daughters education. Rosa attended the D.C. public school system and graduated from Dunbar High School, Howard University (BA), and George Washington University with a Master’s degree in Urban Planning. She began her working career with the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare transferring later to the D.C. Department of Welfare as a case worker. Later she joined the D.C. school system teaching at Tyler, Stanton and Clark Elementary School, and MacFarland Jr. High School.
Rosa married Lonnie Richardson Prince of Ashville, N.C. in June of 1954. They were blessed with the births of Christopher in 1955 and Robin (Sabiyha) in 1959 and afterwards, Rosa went to extra lengths to enroll the children in extra-curricular activities and their respective high schools. In addition to the value placed on family, her Christian faith was central to the life of Rosa Prince. Her formative religious years were spent in the Mt. Airy Baptist Church where she was baptized at a very early age under the pastorship of Rev. Earl K. Tyler. Rosa participated in Sunday school, BTU, Junior Ushers, Choral Group, and Chapel Choir. She also sang with the chorus of Faith United Church of Christ (UCC) and Peoples Congregational UCC. As a member of Peoples Congregational UCC, she participated with the choir until throat surgery made that impossible. Rosa was also a member of her church’s Key Stone Circle, Credit Union, Scrooby Circle, Food Pantry and August-September Brith month club.
After retirement from the D.C. Public Schools, Rosa volunteered at Martha’s Table, Children’s Hospital, the Urban League and as a counselor for the D.C. Hotline. She also tutored seniors through the D.C. Department on Aging and talked frequently about the elderly clients she had so much affection for. Rosa made her transition peacefully, at home, and in the presence of her family.