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John Hope Franklin

Dean of African American historians, John Hope Franklin was born January 2, 1915 in Rentriesville, Oklahoma. His family relocated to Tulsa, Oklahoma shortly after the Tulsa Disaster of 1921. Franklin's mother, Mollie was a teacher and his father, B.C. Franklin was an attorney who handled lawsuits precipitated by the famous Tulsa Race Riot. Graduating from Booker T. Washington High School in 1931, Franklin received an A.B. from Fisk University in 1935 and went on to attend Harvard University, where he received his A.M. and Ph.D. degrees in history.

Franklin began his teaching career at Fisk University before moving on to St. Augustine's College. It was at North Carolina Central University, in 1945, with a $500 advance from Alfred A. Knopf, and help from his wife, Aurelia, that Franklin began writing the classic African American history text, From Slavery to Freedom. The book, co-authored by Alfred A. Moss, Jr. is now in its seventh edition and is published in several different languages. Franklin taught at Howard University for nine years, before becoming the first black to chair the History Department at Brooklyn College in 1956. He was then hired by the University of Chicago in 1964 and chaired the History Department from 1967 to 1970. There, he served as the John Matthews Manly Distinguished Service Professor from 1969 to 1982, when he was made Professor Emeritus. In 1982, Franklin joined the faculty at Duke University as the James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of History.

Active in professional organizations, Franklin has been president of the Southern Historical Society, the Organization of American Historians and the American Historical Association. He is a life long member of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, where he served on the editorial board of the Journal of Negro History. In 1997, he was appointed by President Bill Clinton as chairman of the advisory board for One America, the President's Initiative on Race.
Franklin has written hundreds of articles and at least 15 books. His recent works include Runaway Slaves: Rebels on the Plantations with Loren Schweninger, George Washington Williams: A Biography and a book about his father My Life and an Era: the Autobiography of Buck Colbert Franklin as well as his own autobiography, The Vintage Years. In 1978 Who's Who in America selected Franklin as one of eight Americans who have made significant contributions to society. Among his many other awards are the Organization of American Historians Award for Outstanding Achievement and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In June 1997, PBS aired First Person Singular: John Hope Franklin, a film produced by Lives and Legacies Films.

Still sought after as a lecturer and advisor, Franklin lives in Durham, North Carolina, where he cultivates orchids.

Franklin was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 28, 2003.

Bibliography

Franklin, John Hope. The Free Negro in North Carolina, 1790 - 1860. University
of North Carolina Press, 1943.
---. From Slavery to Freedom: A History of Negro Americans. Alfred A.
Knopf, 1947. Revised 1957, 1967, 1974, 1980, 1984, 1994.
---. The Militant South, 1800 - 1860. Belknap Press of Harvard University
Press, 1956.
---. Reconstruction After the Civil War. University of Chicago Press, 1961.
---. The Emancipation Proclamation. Doubleday & Company, 1963.
---. Land of the Free, with John W. Caughey and Ernest R. May. Franklin
Publications, Benziger Brothers, 1965.
---. Illustrated History of Black Americans. Time-Life, Inc., 1970.
---. A Southern Odyssey: Travelers in the Ante-bellum North. Louisiana
State University Press, 1976.
---. Racial Equality in America. University of Chicago Press, 1976.
---. George Washington Williams: A Biography. University of Chicago
Press, 1985.
---. Race and History: Selected Essays 1938 - 1988. Louisiana State
University Press, 1990.
---. The Color Line: Legacy for the Twenty-First Century.. University
of Missouri Press, 1993.

Accession Number

A2003.281

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/28/2003

Last Name

Franklin

Maker Category
Middle Name

Hope

Organizations
First Name

John

Birth City, State, Country

Rentriesville

HM ID

FRA02

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Oklahoma

Favorite Vacation Destination

Montana

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

North Carolina

Interview Description
Birth Date

1/2/1915

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Durham

Country

USA

Favorite Food

None

Death Date

3/25/2009

Short Description

African american history professor John Hope Franklin (1915 - 2009 ) is known as the "dean" of African American historians and has published hundreds of articles and at least fifteen books.

Employment

Fisk University

St. Augustine's College

North Carolina Central University

Howard University

Brooklyn College

University of Chicago

Duke University

Favorite Color

Blue

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of John Hope Franklin interview, part 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - John Hope Franklin's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - John Hope Franklin describes his mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - John Hope Franklin remembers his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - John Hope Franklin describes his father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - John Hope Franklin details his family's values

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - John Hope Franklin decodes historical moments in his parents' lifetimes

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - John Hope Franklin discusses the bestowing of names in his family

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - John Hope Franklin recalls his early interest in a legal career

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - John Hope Franklin explains his decision to attend Fisk University

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - John Hope Franklin remembers his three siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - John Hope Franklin describes his undergraduate years at Fisk University

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - John Hope Franklin recalls his Harvard University tenure as a graduate student

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - John Hope Franklin discusses Harvard University's black student population

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Slating of John Hope Franklin interview, part 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - John Hope Franklin discusses radicalism in universities during the 1930s

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - John Hope Franklin recalls completing his graduate work during World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - John Hope Franklin describes life as a doctoral student

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - John Hope Franklin conveys his approach to the study of history

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - John Hope Franklin discusses his appointment to Howard University's faculty

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - John Hope Franklin decodes the impetus behind his book, 'From Slavery to Freedom'

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - John Hope Franklin considers the African American historical tradition

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - John Hope Franklin explains the evolution of 'From Slavery to Freedom'

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - John Hope Franklin discusses his oeuvre

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - John Hope Franklin discusses key instances of racial integration

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - John Hope Franklin explains his decision to leave Brooklyn College

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - John Hope Franklin describes life as a family man

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - John Hope Franklin remembers the tumultuous summer of 1947

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - John Hope Franklin recalls the impact of Carter G. Woodson's death

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - John Hope Franklin places the Civil Rights Movement within a historical perspective

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - John Hope Franklin discusses his role in the Brown v. Board of Education trial

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - John Hope Franklin delineates his political activism and scholarship

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - John Hope Franklin shares his impressions of the Soviet Union

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - John Hope Franklin recalls his tenure at the University of Chicago

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - John Hope Franklin discusses the introduction of race and gender to historical scholarship

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - John Hope Franklin describes his various international appointments

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - John Hope Franklin explains his move from the University of Chicago to Duke University

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - John Hope Franklin discusses changes in the focus of his scholarship

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - John Hope Franklin acknowledges an influential scholar

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - John Hope Franklin is quite humble about his 135 honorary degrees

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - John Hope Franklin describes his love of orchids

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - John Hope Franklin maintains the importance of separating scholarship from activism

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - John Hope Franklin discusses his appointment as chair of the Presidential Advisory Board on Race Relations

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - John Hope Franklin reflects on President Bill Clinton's Advisory Board on Race Relations

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - John Hope Franklin discusses the publication of his father's autobiography

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - John Hope Franklin discusses his autobiography

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - John Hope Franklin expresses his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - John Hope Franklin contemplates the evolution of African American historical scholarship

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - John Hope Franklin considers the Franklin family legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - John Hope Franklin wants to be remembered as a first-rate teacher

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - John Hope Franklin wishes he had been a linguist

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - John Hope Franklin is going fishing