John Hope Franklin
National Visionary

January 2, 1915 - March 25, 2009
Born in Rentiesville, Oklahoma

Historian, author, educator

Noted scholar, historian, author and professor John Hope Franklin was highly regarded and respected worldwide for his efforts to promote racial understanding and reconciliation.

Franklin as a boy
Born on January 2, 1915 in Rentiesville, Oklahoma, Franklin learned to read and write before the age of five. A bright, dedicated student, he graduated valedictorian of his high school class at age 16, and won a scholarship to Fisk University. While at Fisk, Franklin decided to devote himself to historical studies, and distinguished himself as a leader. He served as president of the campus chapter of his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, and as student body president, gave leadership to programs as well as to student protests against racial injustices, such as lynching. After completing his B.S. at Fisk, he earned a master's and doctorate degree in history from Harvard University. He credits both schools with helping him achieve the scholarly discipline that has allowed him to reshape the way African American history is understood and taught.

Franklin was a prolific author whose literary landmark, "From Slavery to Freedom," is now in its eighth edition and has been translated into five languages. In 1997, he co-edited with his son John W. Franklin, "My Life and an Era: The Autobiography of Buck Colbert Franklin," the story of his own attorney-father. Through his many books, he has shaped 20th century American history with his integrated visions of scholarship and activism, passion and prudence.

A devoted teacher as well as historian, Dr. Franklin has served on the faculties of several colleges and universities, including St. Augustine's College, Howard University, Brooklyn College, the University of Chicago, and Duke University. Dr. Franklin has also served on many national commissions and delegations, and was chosen by President Bill Clinton in 1997 to chair the advisory board for One America: The President's Initiative on Race.

Dr. Franklin's endeavors, his witness, and his powerful chronicle of black America's hard-won progress toward equal rights and status continue to guide us towards achieving a free, just, and equal society. One of the most celebrated African American historians in the United States, he has been honored with several awards--among them the Encyclopedia Britannica Gold Medal for the Dissemination of Knowledge, the NAACP's Spingarn Medal, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In 2005, Dr. Franklin published his bestselling memoir, Mirror to America: The Autobiography of John Hope Franklin .

On November 15, 2006, John Hope Franklin was announced as the third recipient of the John W. Kluge Prize for lifetime achievement in the study of humanity. He shared the prize with Yu Ying-shih.

Dr. Franklin was the James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of History, and for seven years was Professor of Legal History in the Law School at Duke University.

On March 25, 2009, Dr. Franklin died of congestive heart failure at Duke University Medical Center, in Durham, North Carolina. He was 94. He is survived by his son, John W. Franklin. John Whittington Franklin, daughter-in-law Karen Roberts Franklin, sister-in-law Bertha W. Gibbs, cousin Grant Franklin Sr., a host of nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, other family members, many generations of students and friends. His wife, Aurelia, passed away in 1999.


John Hope Franklin's Wikipedia page

• John Hope Franklin roundtable discussion about the1921 Tulsa Massacre
John Hope Franklin roundtable discussion about Affirmative Action

URL (Click to bookmark): http://www.visionaryproject.org/franklinjohnhope