Franklin, Ermant, Jr. (1931–1996)

By: Clayton T. Shorkey

Type: Biography

Published: June 10, 2013

Updated: July 31, 2020

Ermant Franklin, Jr., gospel singer and manager, was born in Austin on March 20, 1931, and was the son of the Rev. Ermant Franklin, Sr., and Alla (Sneed) Franklin. “Junior” Franklin graduated from Anderson High School in 1950. While still a teenager he organized a quartet with his younger brother, James Franklin, and their two first cousins, Thomas and Wilford Sneed. This group, the Southern Clouds, sang together for a number of years. Junior had been encouraged to sing by his father who was one of the original members of the Paramount Singers. After his years with the Southern Clouds, Franklin joined the Stars of Bethel and learned the guitar. About the mid-1950s he moved to Los Angeles. In 1957 he organized a group called the Sensational Wonders, and in 1961 his group teamed with Joe Ligon’s Mighty Clouds of Joy to form a new version of that band. Junior Franklin became manager of the new Mighty Clouds of Joy. His career with this group lasted almost twenty years, and he wrote many of the group's major hits, including “Family Circle,” “Nobody Can Keep Me Down,” and “Ain’t Got Long to Stay Here.” Honors bestowed upon this group include two Grammys, six Grammy nominations, the NAACP Image Award, and three Gospel Music Workshop of America awards. Franklin resigned as manager of the Clouds in 1980 and joined Willie Neal and the Gospel Keynotes as singer/manager for a year. He returned to Austin in 1981 and worked as manager and singer for the Golden Echoes (Jackie, Lisa, and Claudia Bonner). In 1991 Franklin followed his calling to become a minister. He preached his first sermon in 1992 and served at Solid Rock Baptist Church until his death on January 17, 1996. He was survived by his wife Elmira and two sons and one daughter. Another son had preceded him in death. Franklin was inducted into the Austin Music Memorial in 2013.

Austin American–-Statesman, January 21, 1996. 

  • Peoples
  • African Americans
  • Music

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Clayton T. Shorkey, “Franklin, Ermant, Jr.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 14, 2022,

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June 10, 2013
July 31, 2020

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