Archive for John Hope Franklin

John Hope Franklin

Posted in Black Men with tags , on March 27, 2009 by Gary Johnson


By Brandon Whitney

I was a History and Political Science major at Virginia Union University when I first found out about John Hope Franklin. I actually had to do a paper on the Oklahoma born historian for a History research methods class. John Hope Franklin was a man who did much for the understanding of African American history. A great deal of who we are as a people is documented because of his efforts.

Oklahoma was intended, at one point, to be a state for America’s newly freed Black population. Because of this there were many African Americans who lived there. John Hope Franklin was among them. He endured severe racism in Oklahoma and, when he became a historian, allowed his experiences to make him a better scholar. This is a man who, when he attended Harvard, had to struggle just to get access to the library facilities. He assisted Thurgood Marshall during the Brown vs. The Board of Education, one of his greatest scholarly works, From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans, is one of the most important documentations of African American history ever written. He is an giant in the world of history.

Here is why John Hope Franklin is important to me. Franklin wrote a book called Runaway Slaves. In this book, John Hope Franklin explains that the slaves rebelled against their captivity in a number of ways. They stole from those who kept them captive. They formed allegiances with one another against their masters. The slaves hid in the Great Abysmal Swamp and raided slave plantations. They escaped to freedom, a very difficult and dangerous task. John Hope Franklin presented factual information that showed me that our ancestors the slaves were not cowards or weak. Franklin showed me that the slaves had fought in numerous ways against oppression until Jubilee. I was proud of my heritage before I read Franklin, but a sliver of doubt I had not known existed was removed by his book. A burden I hadn’t even known was there was lifted. Rest in peace John Hope Franklin, you will be missed but you will not be forgotten.

We Remember John Hope Franklin

Posted in Black Interests, Black Men with tags on March 26, 2009 by Gary Johnson


By Gary A. Johnson

The passing of Duke University professor John Hope Franklin at the age of 94 on March 25, 2009, went rather quietly, much like the man who broke numerous color barriers during his long life.  Professor Franklin is probably best known for his work From Slavery to Freedom, first published in 1947, is still considered the definitive account of the black experience in America.  More than three million copies have been sold.

Born and raised in an all-black community in Oklahoma, Franklin was among the scholars who assisted Thurgood Marshall in winning Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark 1954 case that outlawed the “separate but equal” doctrine in the USA’s public schools.

Franklin joined civil rights protesters in a 1965 march for voting rights led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in Montgomery, Alabama. In 1997, he was appointed chairman of President Bill Clinton’s One America Initiative, charged with directing a national conversation on race relations.

“Because of the life John Hope Franklin lived, the public service he rendered, and the scholarship that was the mark of his distinguished career, we all have a richer understanding of who we are as Americans and our journey as a people,” President Barack Obama said in a statement.

Many of us owe Professor Franklin and countless other citizens a huge debt of gratitude for their many sacrifices.  In 1995, Professor Franklin was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

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