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John Hope Franklin

Born: January 2, 1915 in Rentiesville, Oklahoma
Died: March 25, 2009 in Durham, North Carolina

Pen Name: None

Connection to Illinois: 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.

Biography: 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.

  • -- 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 S

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers

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 :
John Hope Franklin on WorldCat :

Selected Titles

A southern odyssey :
ISBN: 0807103519 OCLC: 779901699

Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge [La.] : 1977, ©1976.

  American Negro slavery;
ISBN: 019501670X OCLC: 654863

Oxford University Press, New York, 1973 [©1968]

Collecting African American art :
ISBN: 0300152914 OCLC: 269282205

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston ; [Houston] : ©2009.

"Celebrating an important aspect of cultural history, this book showcases the institutional and private efforts to collect, document, and preserve African American art in Houston during the 20th and 21st centuries"--Provided by publisher.

From slavery to freedom :
ISBN: 0072963786 OCLC: 456977618

Documents the African American experience, from their origin in Africa to slavery in the Western Hemisphere and their successful struggle for freedom.

George Washington Williams :
ISBN: 0822321645 OCLC: 38551345

Duke University Press, Durham, N.C. : 1998.

John Hope Franklin reconstructs the life of the controversial, self-made black intellectual who wrote the first history of African Americans in the United States. Awarded the Clarence L. Holte Literary Prize, this book traces Franklin's forty-year quest for Williams's story, a story largely lost to history until this volume was first published in 1985. The result, part biography and part social history, is a unique consideration of a pioneering historian by his most distinguished successor. Williams, who lived from 1849 to 1891, had a remarkable career as soldier, minister, journalist, lawyer, politician, freelance diplomat, and African traveler, as well as a historian. While Franklin reveals the accomplishments of this neglected figure and emphasizes the racism that curtailed Williams's many talents, he also highlights the personal weaknesses that damaged Williams's relationships and career. - Publisher.

In search of the promised land :
ISBN: 0195160878 OCLC: 56922466

Sally Thomas went from being a slave on a tobacco plantation, to a virtually free slave who ran her own business and purchased one of her sons out of bondage. This book offers a portrait of her extended family and of the life of slaves before the Civil War. Based on family letters as well as an autobiography by one of her sons, the detective work follows a singular group as they walk the boundary between slave and free, traveling across the country in search of a promised land where African Americans would be treated with respect. This small family experienced the full gamut of slavery, witnessing everything from the breakup of slave families, brutal punishment, and runaways, to miscegenation, insurrection panics, and slave patrols. They also illuminate the hidden lives of virtually free slaves, who maintained close relationships with whites, maneuvered within the system, and gained a large measure of autonomy. --From publisher description.

Mirror to America :
ISBN: 0374299447 OCLC: 58595443

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York : 2005.

John Hope Franklin lived through America's most defining 20th-century transformation, the dismantling of legally-protected racial segregation. A renowned scholar, he has explored that transformation in its myriad aspects, and he was, and remains, an active participant. Born in 1915, he could not but participate: evicted from whites-only train cars, confined to segregated schools, and threatened--once with lynching. And yet he managed to receive a Ph. D. from Harvard. He has become one of the world's most celebrated historians and reshaped the way African American history is understood and taught. But Franklin's participation was much more fundamental than that. From his effort in 1934 to hand President Roosevelt a petition, whether aiding Thurgood Marshall's preparation for Brown v. Board in 1954, marching to Montgomery in 1965, or testifying against Robert Bork's nomination to the Supreme Court in 1987, Franklin has pushed the national conversation on race towards humanity and equality.--From publisher description.

Race and history :
ISBN: 0807115479 OCLC: 19589737

Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge : ©1989.

Racial equality in America
ISBN: 0826209122 OCLC: 28067080

University of Missouri Press, Columbia : 1993.

Traces the history of America's racial inequality, discussing the disparity between the goal of racial equality and the facts of discrimination.

Racial equality in America ; & the color line :
ISBN: 0826209130 OCLC: 28963576

University of Missouri Press, Columbia : ©1994.

  Reconstruction after the Civil War
ISBN: 9780226923376 OCLC: 781279007

Runaway slaves :
ISBN: 0195084519 OCLC: 39189967

Oxford University Press, New York : 1999.

"In this book, John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger demonstrate that, contrary to popular belief, significant numbers of slaves did in fact frequently rebel against their masters and struggle to attain their freedom. By surveying a wealth of documents, such as planters' records, petitions to county courts and state legislatures, and local newspapers, this book shows how slaves resisted; when, where, and how they escaped; where they fled to; how long they remained in hiding; and how they survived away from the plantation. Of equal importance, it examines the reactions of the white slaveholding class, revealing how they marshaled considerable effort to prevent runaways, meted out severe punishments, and established patrols to hunt down escaped slaves." "Reflecting a lifetime of thought by our leading authority in African American history, this book provides the key to truly understanding the relationship between slaveholders and the runaways who challenged the system - illuminating as never before the true nature of the South's "most peculiar institution.""--Jacket.

The color line :
ISBN: 0826208940 OCLC: 47011936

University of Missouri Press, Columbia, Mo. : ©1993.

The Emancipation proclamation
ISBN: 0882959077 OCLC: 31206924

Harlan Davidson, Wheeling, Ill. : ©1995.

While many historians have dealt with the Emancipation Proclamation as a phase or an aspect of the Civil War, few have given more than scant attention to the evolution of the document in the mind of Lincoln, the circumstances and conditions that led to its writing, its impact on the course of the war, and its significance for later generations. Professor John Hope Franklin's answer to this need, first published in 1963, is available again for the first time in many years. Includes a new preface, photo essay, and a reproduction of the 1863 handwritten draft of the Emancipation Proclamation.

The free Negro in North Carolina, 1790-1860
ISBN: 0807845469 OCLC: 45844014

University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC : ©1995.

The militant South, 1800-1861 /
ISBN: 0252070690 OCLC: 48221437

University of Illinois Press, Urbana : 2002.

"In The Militant South, 1800-1861, John Hope Franklin identifies the factors and causes of the South's festering propensity for aggression that contributed to the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861." "Franklin asserts that the South was dominated by militant white men who resorted to violence in the face of social, personal, or political conflict. Fueled by their defense of slavery and a desire to keep the North out of their affairs, Southerners developed a bellicosity that intensified as the war drew nearer." "Drawing from Southern newspapers, government archives, memoirs, letters, and firsthand accounts, Franklin details the sources and consequences of antebellum aggression in the South. This edition features a new preface in which the author discusses controversial responses to this classic volume, first published in 1956."--BOOK JACKET.

We are still here :
ISBN: 0882959409 OCLC: 37663327

Harlan Davidson, Wheeling, Ill. : ©1998.

A history of American Indians, discussing events that characterized the struggles of Native Americans to survive and maintain their homes and traditions in each of six distinct time periods, from 1890 to 1997.