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Dr John Hope Franklin
Birth: Jan. 2, 1915
McIntosh County
Oklahoma, USA
Death: Mar. 25, 2009
Durham County
North Carolina, USA

Historian, Author, Civil Rights Pioneer. A scholar and professor, he wrote the 1947 "From Slavery to Freedom", still considered the definitive work on early Black history, then performed the research that was to provide the background for the 1954 "Brown v. Board of Education" decision. Raised in rural Oklahoma in an upper-middle-class family (his father was a lawyer, and his mother a teacher), he was exposed at an early age to the racism of the time and place. Intending to follow his father into the law, he attended the all-Black Fisk University in Nashville, where the lectures of white professor Ted Currier ignited a love of history. After he earned his degree in 1935, Dr. Currier borrowed the money to send him to Harvard, where he obtained his masters in 1936, and Ph.D. in 1941. His doctoral dissertation, "The Free Negro in North Carolina, 1790-1860", was to become his first published work in 1943. The next few years were consumed with his landmark "From Slavery to Freedom", of which, to date, around 3 million copies have sold. From 1947 until 1956, he taught at Howard University, in Washington; during his years there, he performed his studies as part of future-Justice Thurgood Marshall's team preparing the "Brown v. Board of Education" case for the Supreme Court. In 1956, Dr. Franklin became chairman of the history department at Brooklyn College, the first Black to hold such a position in a major school, though, even there, he was to have difficulty buying a house in a "white" neighborhood. He held a professorship at the University of Chicago from 1964 until his 1983 appointment as James B. Duke Professor of History at Duke University. After taking emeritus status in 1985, he was to continue as professor of legal history at Duke Law School for the next seven years. He continued to write and publish, and was to receive many honors over the years, including the Jefferson Lecture in 1976, the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1995, the John W. Kluge Prize in the Human Sciences in 2006, and over a hundred honorary degrees. Dr. Franklin spent his final years tending orchids in his own greenhouse, and died of heart failure. Today, three different academic centers at Duke carry his name. Of his life and work he said: "I want to be out there on the firing line, helping, directing, or doing something to try to make this a better world, a better place to live". (bio by: Bob Hufford) 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
Record added: Mar 26, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 35175652
Dr John Hope Franklin
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