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John Hope Franklin
(Jan 2, 1915 - Mar. 25, 2009)
John Hope Franklin’s career is one of exemplary productivity and far-reaching influence. His contributions range across the genres of non-fiction writing, from scholarly monographs to works of history intended for a non-academic public, to a textbook, a biography and an autobiography.
Franklin pioneered the study of the African-American experience. Franklin’s first book, "The Free Negro in North Carolina," appeared in 1943; but it remains the standard work on its subject and a key reference point for those investigating the status of free African-Americans before the Civil War. At the time he wrote this work, historians were devoting little or no attention to what was then called "Negro history." Almost no scholarly work existed on antebellum free blacks.
In 1949 he served as an expert witness on behalf of the NAACP in Lyman Johnson v. The University of Kentucky, which successfully challenged that state’s "separate but equal" policy in graduate education. In 1953 he was a member of team of scholars and attorneys assembled by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund to research the history of the 14th Amendment in preparation for the argument of Brown v. Board of Education. In 1965 he traveled with 30 other historians to Alabama to join Martin Luther King Jr. in the march from Selma to Montgomery. In 2000, Duke University established The John Hope Franklin Center for Interdisciplinary and International Studies in his honor.
Professor Franklin’s most significant recent publication is his autobiography, "Mirror to America" (2005). More than just an account of his life’s trajectory, the book is a chronicle of American race relations during the 20th century.
In 2006, the Library of Congress honored Franklin's accomplishments by awarding him the John W. Kluge Prize or lifetime achievement in the study of humanity.
- Kluge Prize Winner 2006 – John Hope Franklin
- Mirror to America: The Autobiography of John Hope Franklin (Webcast)
- John Hope Franklin – 2006 National Book Festival (Podcast)
- Mirror to America: John Hope Franklin on His Distinguished Life
(Library of Congress Information Bulletin, November/December 2005 - Vol. 64, No. 11/12)
- Remembering Vintage Years: John Hope Franklin Discusses His Life and Career (Library of Congress Information Bulletin, October 2001 - Vol. 60, No. 10)
- Duke University Memorial Page (extertnal link)