JOHN HOPE FRANKLIN
John Hope Franklin is unquestionably one of the world's most renowned, revered, and respected historians of this century. Currently, at age 86, he is James B. Duke Professor of History Emeritus, and for seven years was Professor of Legal History at Duke University's Law School. An amazing man, at age 82, he headed President Clinton's Initiative on Race Advisory Board and led a national discussion of the country's most contentious and critical social issue -- race .
Dr. Franklin was born on January 2, 1915, in Rentiesville, Oklahoma, the son of a lawyer and a teacher. He received his A.B.degree from Fisk University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in history from Harvard University in 1936 and 1941, respectively. He has taught at several educational institutions, including Fisk, North Carolina Central, and Howard universities, as well as St. Augustine's College in North Carolina. From 1956 to 1964, he served as Chairman of the History Department at Brooklyn College. He joined the faculty at the University of Chicago in 1964 while serving as Chairman of the History Department between 1967 and 1970. In 1982, he became Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago.
Without question, a mentor and an inspiration to many, and a reaffirmation of the power of goodness and intellectual honesty, Dr. Franklin is perhaps best known for his study, From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans, now in its eighth edition. His other distinguished works include: The Militant South, 1800-1860 (1956); Reconstruction After the Civil War (1961); The Emancipation Proclamation (1963); A Southern Odyssey: Travelers in the Antebellum North (1976); Racial Equality in America (1976); George Washington Williams: A Biography (1985); Race and History: Selected Essays, 1938-1988 (1990); The Color Line: Legacy for the 21st Century (1993), and Runaway Slaves: Rebels on the Plantation (1999), co-authored with former student, Loren Schweninger.
In addition to numerous essays and reviews, Dr. Franklin is the editor of The Civil War Diary of James T. Ayers (1947); A Fool's Errand (1961); Army Life in a Black Regiment (1962); African Americans and the Living Constitution (1995), co-edited with former student, Genna Rae McNeil; and most recently, My Life and an Era: The Autobiography of Buck C. Colbert Franklin (1997), co-edited with his son, John Whittington Franklin. Professor Franklin is currently writing his autobiography, "The Vintage Years."
Dr. Franklin has served on a variety of commissions and boards, and has been the recipient of numerous awards. He served on the National Council of the Humanities (1976-78); the Presidential Advisory Board on Ambassadorial Appointments (1977-81); and the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy (1978-81). He was Chairman of the Advisory Board to the President's Initiative on Race (1997-99), and of the National Parks System Advisory Board (1999-present).
Among Dr. Franklin's numerous and distinguished awards and honors are the Jefferson Medal Award (1995), NAACP Spingarn Medal (1995), and the Helmrich Award (1997). In 1998, he was inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, and in 1999 was the first African-American recipient of the Truman Good Neighbor Award. In addition, he was selected "Tar Heel of the Year" (1999) by North Carolina's News and Observer, and in 2000, received the Skirball Human Values Award, Lincoln Prize, and the Harold Washington Literary Award.
In addition to having been historical consultant on film director/producer Steven Spielberg's Oscar nominated film, Amistad, Dr. Franklin, in 1977, was featured in "First Person Singular: John Hope Franklin," a PBS production, which chronicles his life experiences. In January 2001, he was featured in "Biographical Conversations," more than ten hours of tape condensed and broadcasted in three one-hour segments on WUNC-TV. In addition, he, along with South African Archbishop Desmond TuTu, were featured in "Race and Reconciliation: A Journey Towards Peace," a documentary filmed on the West African island of Goree, which premiered on PBS in February, 2001.
On February 8, Duke University celebrated the opening of the John Hope Franklin Center for Interdisciplinary and International Studies. A newly renovated facility located in Durham, North Carolina, the Center seeks to promote "innovative approaches to research and teaching on race, equality, and other fundamental issues of social life and human understanding."
Dr. John Hope Franklin is the recipient of one hundred and twenty-eight honorary degrees.