March 26, 2009
Dear Members of the Howard Community,
It is with sadness today that we remember a Howard University family member. Dr. John Hope Franklin died yesterday at the age of 94 of congestive heart failure in Durham, NC. He was one of Howard’s most distinguished faculty members not only for his scholarship as a historian of the South and the African-American experience, but also for his commitment to justice.
Dr. Franklin joined the Howard University faculty in 1947. While serving here, he became a member of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund team, which developed the sociological case for Brown v. Board of Education that ended the legal segregation of Black and White children in public schools. He is best known for his prolific writing, including: From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans;The Militant South, 1800-1860 (1956); The Emancipation Proclamation (1963); Racial Equality in America (1976); Race and History: Selected Essays, 1938-1988 (1990); The Color Line: Legacy for the 21st Century (1993) to name a few. He also headed President Bill Clinton's Initiative on Race Advisory Board and led a national discussion on race. Howard University awarded Dr. Franklin an honorary Doctor of Laws in 1968 and a Special Citation of Achievement in 2001.
Dr. Franklin did not believe that one could sit on the sideline and make a difference. He often said “I want to be out there on the firing line, helping, directing or doing something to try to make this a better world, a better place to live.” Dr. Franklin will be remembered for staying on the firing line throughout his life in his teaching, research, writing and voice on race and equality.
Sidney A. Ribeau,
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