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John Hope Franklin » I For Color



John Hope Franklin

· “John Hope Franklins lifetime of work was crucial to America coming to the understanding that history would be incomplete without African Americans, and that America could only become whole by confronting the lingering ghosts of slavery and segregation.” — Rep. G.K. Butterfield (NC-1)

· “I am saddened by the death of Dr. John Hope Franklin, yet I know future generations will celebrate the accomplishments of his life. He was an American treasure.” — Rep. Larry Kissell (NC-8)

John Hope Franklin 9780374299446_custom-fbfbedfe3af14cc6f1221708eab193446c161eaf-s6-c30

About John Hope Franklin’s Scholarship

· “A pioneer scholar; a splendid humanist and a shining model to generations of students, scholars, and activists.” — David Levering Lewis, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, 1994

· “There had really been nothing like the book that John Hope Franklin wrote in 1942,”From Slavery to Freedom.” Before that book appeared, there had been efforts to sum up the experience, the odyssey, of people of color in North America. Du Bois of course, W.E.B. Du Bois had made an impressive effort as had several others. But Franklin’s synoptic history, beginning in 1619, and as it was amended as the years passed – I think perhaps, we’re in the eight or ninth edition up to the day before yesterday – gave the full experience in its many dimensions – but handily so. Accessibly written, deeply sourced – indeed the documents at the end of”From Slavery to Freedom” gave graduate students perhaps all they needed to launch their own researches. It was a book that made black studies, as it was called in its initial period, or African American history – now called diasporic studies – gave it its launch pad. And so he really was seminal from that perspective of enabling a sub- field, an ignored field, to become indeed one of the primary pursuits of (unintelligible) research. — Professor DAVID LEVERING LEWIS (New York University; Pulitzer Prize winner)

· I absolutely remember it because it was the second thickest book on my parents’ den shelves. The other one was the Bible. But I remember growing up and seeing that book there and eventually leafing through it myself, and the first edition, hard-bound is a think book, and I just remember being impressed that, as my father told me, who was a fan of historians, that one man wrote that book, one negro man, which was the day, the word of the time. And I have to believe that my just astounding understanding of what it meant for him to regard John Hope Franklin with that honored place on the family den bookshelf meant a great deal to me and my own scholarly endeavors. So I discovered the book before I discovered the man, and when I came to Duke University, my parents would always say that she’s at John Hope Franklin’s university, and that was enough for me to have earned some honor in the eye of my parents. — Professor KARLA HOLLOWAY (Co-founder; John Hope Franklin Center)on NPR

· Well, I visited John Hope Franklin at Brooklyn College the year he became the chair of the history department there, and this was such a notable event in race relations and in scholarship that I think it was announced on the front page of the New York Times. I knew of him because we shared a professor, a history professor, at Fisk University, one who had influenced my life and the course which it followed, and I knew that John Hope Franklin had become a historian in large part because of the influence of this remarkable history professor. And so to meet him, the flesh-and-blood man, I entered into his office as though into something of a sanctuary. Well, he soon dispelled that kind of reverential atmosphere that was in my mind, and as Karla says, he was a wonderful combination of gravitas and levity. Those two words really are antonyms, and yet they do express his personality, which was one that always addressed major issues in a kind of demotic way. One understood why they were important. You not only understood the issue, but you understood why the issue had to matter. John was perhaps a precursor of this much bandied-about term, public intellectual. Before that tripped off everybody’s tongue to describe lots of people, he had already ventured from the narrow…ivory tower, and into marching from Selma to Montgomery with Martin Luther King. And before that, of course, leading a group of historians to ascertain what was in the minds of the congressional authors of the constitutional amendments, 14th and 15th, in order to strengthen the argument of the NAACP before the Supreme Court. And of course with the conversation on race enterprise that President Clinton… I think that you have to remember each and every one of them because he was a complicated and a – a citizen of the world. He made sure that his intelligence and interest reached far beyond the local to the global, and yet he was loved. That’s what I’ll remember about him. — Professor DAVID LEVERING LEWIS (New York University; Pulitzer Prize winner)

· When one reads From Slavery to Freedom: A History of Negro Americans, by JohnHope Franklin, the immediate impression, and for me, appreciation, is that here is a scholar with honesty and purpose who is, in effect standing in loco parentis of the crucial facts about the African Americans’ past, present and future effect on the American system. As in his other writings, whether it is The Free Negro in North Carolina, 1790-1860; Race and History; Selected Essays — 1938-1988; Racial Equality in America; Reconstruction After the Civil War; African Americans and The Living Constitution; his biography of George Washington Williams; or other selections from his fertile mind and productive pen, the comprehensive investigation of the African in America, from the gray and pale days of slavery to the still-cloudy days of near-freedom is presented with such vitality and scholarly authority that those who dare play fast and loose with the facts are compelled to take notice; and more often than not, to return to their so urces for further discussion and interpretation. — Professor Percy R. Luney, Jr. North Carolina Central University School of Law September 19, 1997

· “Those African-Americans who teach in typically underfinanced black colleges today confront the same heavy teaching loads that Franklin bore, all the while insisting on continuing his research and scholarship.” — Mary Frances Berry reflected on Mr. Franklin’s career