Tag: John Hope Franklin

John Hope Franklin Honored by Duke University for Pioneering Field of African-American History

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Historian John Hope Franklin (Photo via Harvard Public Affairs and Communications) 

DURHAM, N.C. — John Hope Franklin, a scholar who helped create the field of African-American history, was instrumental both in documenting America’s long and long-ignored legacy of slavery and racism and in reaffirming the continuing importance of that history, Harvard President Drew Faust said during an event Thursday evening commemorating his life and scholarship.

“John Hope Franklin wrote history — discovering neglected and forgotten dimensions of the past, mining archives with creativity and care, building in the course of his career a changed narrative of the American experience and the meaning of race within it,” she said. “But John Hope also meditated about history and its place in the world, on its role as action as well as description, on history itself as causal agent, and on the writing of history as mission as well as profession.”

Franklin was born in 1915 and raised in segregated Oklahoma. Graduating from Fisk University in 1935, he earned a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1941. Over the course of his career, he held faculty posts at a number of institutions, including Howard University and the University of Chicago, before being appointed in 1983 the James B. Duke Professor of History at Duke University. “From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African-Americans,” published in 1947, is still considered a definitive account of the black experience in America. A lecture series later published as a book, “Racial Equality in America,” became another of his most iconic works. Franklin died in 2009.

An American historian herself, Faust gave the keynote address in the last of a yearlong series of events as part of the John Hope Franklin Centenary, sponsored by Duke University to mark the 100th anniversary of his birth.

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Duke University Acquires Papers Of Noted Historian John Hope Franklin

Duke University has announced that it has acquired a vast archive of papers of John Hope Franklin. Professor Franklin was the James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of History at Duke University and one of the most prolific and respected historians of the twentieth century. He died of congestive heart failure on March 25, 2009 at Duke University Hospital. He was 94 years old.

The archive includes more than 300 boxes of materials that were donated to the university by his son and daughter-in-law. Included in the archive are diaries, correspondence, manuscripts, drafts of speeches, photographs, and video recordings. The collection will be housed at the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Duke. The collection will be made available to researchers once it has been preserved and cataloged.

John Hope Franklin was born in Rentiesville, Oklahoma, in 1915. His grandfather had been a slave. His father was one of the first black lawyers in Oklahoma. His mother was a schoolteacher. Franklin was named after John Hope, the former president of Morehouse College and Atlanta University.

Franklin attended racially segregated schools in Oklahoma. He was valedictorian of his high school class. He wanted to attend the University of Oklahoma but at that time, and for many years later, the state’s flagship university was closed to blacks. Continue reading “Duke University Acquires Papers Of Noted Historian John Hope Franklin”

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