John H. Franklin

John H. Franklin books and biography

John Hope Franklin

John H. Franklin
John H. Franklin

John Hope Franklin (born January 2, 1915) is a United States historian and past president of the American Historical Association. Professor Emeritus of History at Duke University, he is best known for his work From Slavery to Freedom, first published in 1947, and continuously updated. More than three million copies have been sold. In 1995, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.



Franklin was born in Rentiesville, Oklahoma and named after John Hope.[1] He graduated from Fisk University in 1935 and earned a doctorate in history in 1941 from Harvard University.

Franklin met and courted Aurelia Whittington at Fisk. After a correspondence and courtship that lasted 10 years, they married on June 11, 1940 at her parent's home in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Their only child, John Whittington Franklin, was born August 24, 1952. Aurelia was a librarian. Their marriage lasted 59 years, until January 27, 1999 when she succumbed to a long illness. [2]

"My challenge," Franklin says, "was to weave into the fabric of American history enough of the presence of blacks so that the story of the United States could be told adequately and fairly."

In the early 1950s, Franklin served on the NAACP Legal Defense team led by Thurgood Marshall that helped develop the case that led to the 1954 United States Supreme Court decision ending the legal segregation of black and white children in public schools.

Franklin's teaching career[3] began at Fisk University and continued during World War II at St. Augustine's College and North Carolina College. Between 1947 and 1956, he taught at Howard University, and from 1956 until 1964, he chaired the department of history at Brooklyn College. From 1964 through 1982, he served in the history department at the University of Chicago, and as its chair from 1967-70, and as the John Matthews Manly Distinguished Service Professor, 1969-82. In 1983, Franklin was appointed as the James B. Duke Professor of History at Duke University, and in 1985, he took emeritus status. Franklin was also Professor of Legal History at the Duke University Law School from 1985-92:

He was appointed to the Fulbright Board of Foreign Scholarships, 1962-69, and was its chair from 1966-69. He was appointed to the U.S. Delegation to the UNESCO General Conference, Belgrade (1980).

The John Hope Franklin Collection for African and African-American Documentation resides at the Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library and contains his personal and professional papers. [4]

Pulitzer Prize winning historian David Levering Lewis said that while he was deciding to become an historian, news came that Franklin, his mentor, had been named departmental chairman at Brooklyn College. "Now that certainly is a distinction. It had never happened before that a person of color had chaired a major history department. That meant a lot to me. If I had doubt about (the) viability of a career in history, that example certainly help put to rest such concerns."[5]

In researching his prize-winning biographies of W.E.B. Du Bois, Lewis said he became aware of Franklin's "courage during that period in the 1950s when Du Bois became an un-person, when many progressives were tarred and feathered with the brush of subversion. John Hope Franklin was a rock; he was loyal to his friends. In the case of W.E.B. Du Bois, Franklin spoke out in his defense, not (about) Du Bois' communism, but of the right of an intellectual to express ideas that were not popular. I find that admirable. It was a high risk to take and we may be heading again into a period when the free concourse of ideas in the academy will have a price put upon it. In the final years of an active teaching career, I will have John Hope Franklin's example of high scholarship, great courage and civic activism." [6]

On May 20, 2006, Franklin was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters at Lafayette College's 171st Commencement Exercises.

On November 15, 2006, it was announced that Franklin was the third recipient of the John W. Kluge Prize for lifetime achievement in the study of humanity. He will share the prize with Yu Ying-shih.

Public Service

Franklin has served as president of the American Historical Association (1979), the American Studies Association (1967), the Southern Historical Association (1970), the United Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa (1973-76), and the Organization of American Historians (1975). He has been a member of the board of trustees at Fisk University, the Chicago Public Library, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association.

Franklin has been appointed to serve on national commissions including the National Council of the Humanities, the President's Advisory Commission on Ambassadorial Appointments, and One America: The President's Initiative on Race.

Franklin is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African Americans. He was an early beneficiary of the fraternity's Foundation Publishers which provides financial support and fellowship for writers addressing African American issues since it was established in 1933.

Books by John Hope Franklin (Partial List)

  • The free Negro in North Carolina, 1790-1860, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1943, 1995.
  • The diary of James T. Ayers, Civil War recruiter ed., with introd., by John Franklin. Springfield; State of Illinois, 1947.
  • From Slavery to Freedom. A History of African Americans, 1st ed. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1947. Last update with Alfred Moss, 8th ed. McGraw-Hill Education, 2001, ISBN 0-07-112058-0
  • The militant South, 1800-1861. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1956; 1st Illinois pbk. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2002.
  • Reconstruction: after the Civil War. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961.
  • The Emancipation proclamation. 1st ed. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1963; 2nd ed. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1993.
  • Land of the free; a history of the United States, by John W. Caughey, John Hope Franklin and Ernest R. May. Educational advisers: Richard M. Clowes and Alfred T. Clark, Jr. Rev. New York: Benziger Bros., 1966.
  • The Negro in Twentieth Century America: A Reader on the Struggle for Civil Rights, by John Hope Franklin & Isidore Starr. New York: Vintage Books, 1967.
  • Color and race. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1968.
  • The Historian and Public Policy, by John Hope Franklin. Chicago: University of Chicago, Center for Policy Study, c1974.
  • Racial Equality in America, by John Hope Franklin. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, c1976.
  • A Southern Odyssey: Travelers in the Antebellum North. by John Hope Franklin. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, c1976.
  • Black Leaders of the Twentieth Century, edited by John Hope Franklin and August Meier. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, c1982.
  • George Washington Williams: a Biography, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985; Reprint, Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1998.
  • Race and History: Selected Essays 1938-1988, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, c1989.
  • The Facts of Reconstruction: Essays in Honor of John Hope Franklin, edited by Eric Anderson & Alfred A. Moss, Jr. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, c1991.
  • The Color Line: Legacy for the Twenty-first Century, John Hope Franklin. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, c1993.
  • Racial Equality in America, by John Hope Franklin. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1993.
  • My Life and an Era: the Autobiography of Buck Colbert Franklin, edited by John Hope Franklin and John Whittington Franklin. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, c1997, 2000.
  • Runaway Slaves: Rebels on the Plantation, John Hope Franklin, Loren Schweninger. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.
  • Mirror to America. The Autobiography of John Hope Franklin. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2005, ISBN 0-374-29944-7


  1. ^
  2. ^ Mirror to America
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^

Paul Finkelman, "John Hope Franklin," in Robert Allen Rutland, ed. Clio's Favorites: Leading Historians of the United States, 1945-2000 University of Missouri Press. (2000) pp 49-67

This article might use material from a Wikipedia article, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

Sponsored Links

Militant South 1800 To 1861

By John H. Franklin
American Civil War

Militant South 1800 To 1861
Details Report
Share this Book!
message of the week Message of The Week

Bookyards Youtube channel is now active. The link to our Youtube page is here.

If you have a website or blog and you want to link to Bookyards. You can use/get our embed code at the following link.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Bookyards Facebook, Tumblr, Blog, and Twitter sites are now active. For updates, free ebooks, and for commentary on current news and events on all things books, please go to the following:

Bookyards at Facebook

Bookyards at Twitter

Bookyards at Pinterest

Bookyards atTumblr

Bookyards blog

message of the daySponsored Links