John Hope Franklin

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General Information

Name: John Hope Franklin

Pen Name: None

Born: January 2, 1915 in Rentiesville, Oklahoma

Died: March 25, 2009 in Durham, North Carolina

Illinois Connection

Franklin lived in Chicago. From 1964 through 1968, Franklin was a professor of history at the University of Chicago, and chair of the department from 1967-70. He was named to the endowed position of John Matthews Manly Distinguished Service Professor, which he held from 1969-82.

Biographical and Professional Information

John Hope Franklin was a noted scholar, historian, author and professor. He was a revered Duke University historian and scholar of life in the South and the African-American experience in the United States. Professor Emeritus of History at Duke University, he was best known for his work From Slavery to Freedom, first published in 1947.

Born and raised in an all-black community in Oklahoma where he was often subjected to humiliating incidents of racism, he was later instrumental in bringing down the legal and historical validations of such a world.

As an author, his book From Slavery to Freedom was a landmark integration of black history into American history. As a scholar, his research helped Thurgood Marshall win Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 case that outlawed the doctrine of "separate but equal" in the nation's public schools.

Franklin broke numerous color barriers. He was the first black department chair at a predominantly white institution, Brooklyn College; the first black professor to hold an endowed chair at Duke University; and the first black president of the American Historical Association.

Above all, he documented how blacks had lived and served alongside whites from the nation's birth. Black patriots fought at Lexington and Concord, Franklin pointed out in "From Slavery to Freedom," published in 1947. They crossed the Delaware with Washington and explored with Lewis and Clark. The text sold millions of copies and remains required reading in college classrooms.

Late in life, Franklin chaired President Clinton's Initiative on Race and received more than 100 honorary degrees, the NAACP's Spingarn Award and in 1995 the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.

As he aged, Franklin spent more time in the greenhouse behind his home, where he nursed orchids, than in library stacks. He fell in love with the flowers because "they're full of challenges, mystery" — the same reasons he fell in love with history.

Published Works

  • The Free Negro in North Carolina, 1790 - 1860, 1943
  • From Slavery to Freedom, A History of Negro Americans, 1947
  • A Southern Odyssey, Travelers in the Antebellum North, Louisiana State University Press, 1976
  • Race and History, Selected Essays 1938-1988, Louisiana State University Press, 1992
  • The Color Line, Legacy for the Twenty-First Century, University of Missouri Press, 1993
  • Racial Equality in America, University of Chicago Press, 1994
  • The Emancipation Proclamation, Doubleday, 1995
  • The Free Negro in North Carolina, University of North Carolina Press, 1995
  • Reconstruction After the Civil War, University of Chicago Press, 1995
  • George Washington Williams, A Biography, University of Chicago Press, 1998
  • We Are Still Here: American Indians in the Twentieth Century, Harlan Davidson, 1998
  • Runaway Slaves: Rebels on the Plantation, Oxford University Press, 2000 written with Loren Schweninger
  • The Militant South, 1800-1860, University of Illinois Press, 2002
  • Mirror to America: The Autobiography of John Hope Franklin, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2005
  • In Search of the Promised Land: A Slave Family in the Old South, Oxford University Press, 2006 written with Loren Schweninger
  • Collecting African Art: The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Museum Fine Arts Houston, 2009 written with Alivia J. Wardlaw

Titles for Purchase and at Your Library

"We Are Still Here": American Indians in the Twentieth Century

ISBN: 0882959409
Release Date: 1997-12-24

Find on World Cat

Literary Awards

  • 1978 - selected by Who's Who in America as one of eight Americans who has made significant contributions to society and elected to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.
  • 1984 - received the Jefferson Medal, awarded by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.
  • 1989 - the first recipient of the Cleanth Brooks Medal of the Fellowship of Southern Writers.
  • 1990 - received the Encyclopedia Britannica Gold Medal for the Dissemination of Knowledge.
  • 1993 - received the Charles Frankel Prize for contributions to the humanities.
  • 1994 - received the Cosmos Club Award and the Trumpet Award from Turner Broadcasting Corporation.
  • 1995 - received the first W.E.B. DuBois Award from the Fisk University Alumni Association, the Organization of American Historians' Award for Outstanding Achievement, the Alpha Phi Alpha Award of Merit, the NAACP's Spingarn Medal, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
  • 1996 - elected to the Oklahoma Historians Hall of Frame.
  • 1997 - received the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award.
  • In addition to his many awards, Dr. Franklin has received honorary degrees from more than one hundred colleges and universities.

External Links

John Hope Franklin on WorldCat

John Hope Franklin on Amazon

John Hope Franklin on Wikipedia

John Hope Franklin Biography on Duke University Libraries Page

John Hope Franklin Memorial on Duke University Website

John Hope Franklin on National Visionary Leadership Project Website

John Hope Franklin on the Official Website of the Presidential Medal of Freedom

John Hope Franklin on Website


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