Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  John Hope Franklin  

Pen Name: None

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Born: January 2, 1915 in Rentiesville, Oklahoma

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Illinois Connection

Franklin lived in Chicago. From 1964 through 1968, Franklin was a professor of history at the University of Chicago, and chair of the department from 1967-70. He was named to the endowed position of John Matthews Manly Distinguished Service Professor, which he held from 1969-82.

Biographical and Professional Information

John Hope Franklin was a noted scholar, historian, author and professor. He was a revered Duke University historian and scholar of life in the South and the African-American experience in the United States. Professor Emeritus of History at Duke University, he was best known for his work From Slavery to Freedom, first published in 1947. Born and raised in an all-black community in Oklahoma where he was often subjected to humiliating incidents of racism, he was later instrumental in bringing down the legal and historical validations of such a world.As an author, his book From Slavery to Freedom was a landmark integration of black history into American history. As a scholar, his research helped Thurgood Marshall win Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 case that outlawed the doctrine of "separate but equal" in the nation's public schools.Franklin broke numerous color barriers. He was the first black department chair at a predominantly white institution, Brooklyn College; the first black professor to hold an endowed chair at Duke University; and the first black president of the American Historical Association.Above all, he documented how blacks had lived and served alongside whites from the nation's birth. Black patriots fought at Lexington and Concord, Franklin pointed out in "From Slavery to Freedom," published in 1947. They crossed the Delaware with Washington and explored with Lewis and Clark. The text sold millions of copies and remains required reading in college classrooms.Late in life, Franklin chaired President Clinton's Initiative on Race and received more than 100 honorary degrees, the NAACP's Spingarn Award and in 1995 the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.As he aged, Franklin spent more time in the greenhouse behind his home, where he nursed orchids, than in library stacks. He fell in love with the flowers because "they're full of challenges, mystery" — the same reasons he fell in love with history.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

The Free Negro in North Carolina, 1790-1860.
ISBN: 0846214032

Russell&Russell Pub. 1969

John Hope Franklin has devoted his professional life to the study of African Americans. Originally published in 1943 by UNC Press, The Free Negro in North Carolina, 1790-1860 was his first book on the subject. As Franklin shows, freed slaves in the antebellum South did not enjoy the full rights of citizenship. Even in North Carolina, reputedly more liberal than most southern states, discriminatory laws became so harsh that many voluntarily returned to slavery.

From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans
ISBN: 0070219079

McGraw-Hill Companies. 1994

This work charts the journey of African Americans from their origins in the civilizations of Africa, through slavery in the Western Hemisphere, to their struggle for freedom in the West Indies, Latin America and the United States. Topics covered include the dilemma of reconciliation between theory and practice in matters of race

popular culture in the period between World War I and World War II

and the 1992 election, including discussion of the largest African-American voter turnout in history, largest number of African Americans elected to congress, and the most African Americans ever appointed to cabinet positions.

Race And History: Selected Essays 1938-1988
ISBN: 0807117641

LSU Press. 1991

In Race and History, John Hope Franklin, one of the nation's foremost historians, collects twenty-seven of his most influential shorter writings. The essays are presented thematically and include pieces on southern history

significant but neglected historical figures

historiography

the connection between historical problems and contemporary issues

and the public role of the historian. Collectively these essays reveal Franklin as a man who has exhibited immense courage and intellectual independence in the face of cultural and social bias, a scholar who has set the tone and direction for twentieth-century African-American studies, and a writer whose insistence on balance and truth has inspired two generations of historians. PRAISE FOR THE BOOK "These essays are examples of first-rate scholarship. Even when treading his way through the most treacherous issue of American life, race, Franklin is a model for us all...To read this collection is to be reminded of just how important John Hope Franklin has been in the historical profession." -Dan T. Carter, Emory University "This book is packed full of hard truths that needed saying. It is our fortune that they are said so well and in a voice that carries much authority." -C. Vann Woodward, New Republic "Readers will find these twenty-seven essays eloquent, barbed, timely and outspoken. Franklin's assessment of a widening socioeconomic chasm between blacks and whites, his sweeping surveys of racism from the American Revolution to the Civil War and beyond, are hard-hitting." -Publisher's Weekly "Franklin is a brilliant teacher, with something to teach us all. If only we will listen." - Christian Science Monitor John Hope Franklin is James B. Duke Professor of History Emeritus and professor of legal history at Duke University. He has received more than eighty honorary degrees. His books include From Slavery to Freedom: A History of Negro Americans

Racial Equality in America

A Southern Odyssey: Travelers in the Antebellum North

and George Washington Williams: A Biography.

The Color Line: Legacy for the Twenty-First Century (PAUL ANTHONY BRICK LECTURES)
ISBN: 0826208940

Univ of Missouri Pr. 1993

Originating as three lectures delivered at the U. of Missouri in April 1992 (just one day after the "not guilty" verdict was returned in the trial of Los Angeles police officers in the beating of Rodney King), distinguished historian Franklin reflects on the most tragic and persistent social problem in American history racism. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.

Racial Equality in America (The Paul Anthony Brick Lectures)
ISBN: 0826209122

University of Missouri. 1993

This is distinguished historian John Hope Franklin's eloquent and forceful meditation on the persistent disparity between the goal of racial equality in America and the facts of discrimination.

In a searing critique of Thomas Jefferson, Franklin shows that this spokesman for democracy did not include African Americans among those "created equal." Franklin chronicles the events of the nineteenth century that solidified inequality in America and shows how emancipation dealt only with slavery, not with inequality.

In the twentieth century, America finally confronted the fact that equality is indivisible: it must not be divided so that it is extended to some at the expense of others. Once this indivisibility is accepted, Franklin charges, America faces the monumental task of overcoming its long heritage of inequality.

Racial Equality in America is a powerful reminder that our history is more than a record of idealized democratic traditions and institutions. It is a dramatic message to all Americans, calling them to know their history and themselves.

The Emancipation Proclamation
ISBN: 0882959077

Wiley-Blackwell. 1994

While many historians have dealt with the Emancipation Proclamation as a phase or an aspect of the Civil War, few have given more than scant attention to the evolution of the document in the mind of Lincoln, the circumstances and conditions that led to its writing, its impact on the course of the war, and its significance for later generations. Professor John Hope Franklin's answer to this need, first published in 1963, is available again for the first time in many years. This edition includes a new preface, photo essay, and a reproduction of the 1863 handwritten draft of the Emancipation Proclamation, making it an ideal supplementary text for U.S. and African American survey courses as well as for more specialized courses on the Civil War and Reconstruction.

The Free Negro in North Carolina, 1790-1860
ISBN: 0807845469

University of North Carolina Press. 1995

John Hope Franklin has devoted his professional life to the study of African Americans. Originally published in 1943 by UNC Press, The Free Negro in North Carolina, 1790-1860 was his first book on the subject. As Franklin shows, freed slaves in the antebellum South did not enjoy the full rights of citizenship. Even in North Carolina, reputedly more liberal than most southern states, discriminatory laws became so harsh that many voluntarily returned to slavery.

Reconstruction after the Civil War
ISBN: 0226260798

University Of Chicago Press. 1994

Ever since its original publication in 1961, Reconstruction after the Civil War has been praised for cutting through the controversial scholarship and popular myths of the time to provide an accurate account of the role of former slaves during this period in American history.

In this edition Franklin has updated his work to acknowledge the enormous body of research and scholarship that followed in the wake of the first edition. New are Franklin’s references to important, later texts that enrich the original narrative. In addition, the extensive bibliography has been thoroughly revised.

What has not changed, however, is the foundation Franklin has laid. Still compelling are his arguments concerning the brevity of the North’s military occupation of the South, the limited amount of power wielded by former slaves, the influence of moderate southerners, the flaws of the constitutions drawn up by the Radical state governments, and the reasons for the downfall of Reconstruction.

George Washington Williams: A Biography
ISBN: 0822321645

Duke University Press Books. 1998

In George Washington Williams, John Hope Franklin reconstructs the life of the controversial, self-made black intellectual who wrote the first history of African Americans in the United States. Awarded the Clarence L. Holte Literary Prize, this book traces Franklin’s forty-year quest for Williams’s story, a story largely lost to history until this volume was first published in 1985. The result, part biography and part social history, is a unique consideration of a pioneering historian by his most distinguished successor.
Williams, who lived from 1849 to 1891, had a remarkable career as soldier, minister, journalist, lawyer, politician, freelance diplomat, and African traveler, as well as a historian. While Franklin reveals the accomplishments of this neglected figure and emphasizes the racism that curtailed Williams’s many talents, he also highlights the personal weaknesses that damaged Williams’s relationships and career. Williams led the way in presenting African American history accurately through the use of oral history and archival research, sought to legitimize it as a field of historical study, and spoke out in support of an American Negro Historical Society and as a critic of European imperialism in Africa. He also became erratic and faithless to his family and creditors and died at the age of forty-one, destitute and alienated from family and friends. George Washington Williams is nothing less than a classic biography of a brilliant though flawed individual whose History of the Negro Race in America remains a landmark in African American history and American intellectual history.


"We Are Still Here": American Indians in the Twentieth Century
ISBN: 0882959409

Wiley-Blackwell. 1997

Too often textbook accounts of American Indians end with the massacre at Wounded Knee, but the story of American Indians is an ongoing one. In this remarkable feat of inclusion, Professor Iverson begins at Wounded Knee and tells the stories of Indian communities throughout the United States, including not only political leaders and activists, but also professionals, artists, soldiers and athletes-men and women who have throughout this century worked to carry on time-honored traditions even as they created new ones.

Though appropriate attention is paid to federal officials and policies, We Are Still Here centers on Indian country-on the decisions and actions of Indian individuals-in its discussion of urbanization, economic development, cultural revitalization, identity, and sovereignty.

Runaway Slaves: Rebels on the Plantation
ISBN: 0195084519

Oxford University Press. 2000

From John Hope Franklin, America's foremost African American historian, comes this groundbreaking analysis of slave resistance and escape. A sweeping panorama of plantation life before the Civil War, this book reveals that slaves frequently rebelled against their masters and ran away from their plantations whenever they could.
For generations, important aspects about slave life on the plantations of the American South have remained shrouded. Historians thought, for instance, that slaves were generally pliant and resigned to their roles as human chattel, and that racial violence on the plantation was an aberration. In this precedent setting book, John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger demonstrate that, contrary to popular belief, significant numbers of slaves did in fact frequently rebel against their masters and struggled to attain their freedom. By surveying a wealth of documents, such as planters' records, petitions to county courts and state legislatures, and local newspapers, this book shows how slaves resisted, when, where, and how they escaped, where they fled to, how long they remained in hiding, and how they survived away from the plantation. Of equal importance, it examines the reactions of the white slaveholding class, revealing how they marshaled considerable effort to prevent runaways, meted out severe punishments, and established patrols to hunt down escaped slaves.
Reflecting a lifetime of thought by our leading authority in African American history, this book provides the key to truly understanding the relationship between slaveholders and the runaways who challenged the system--illuminating as never before the true nature of the South's "most peculiar institution."

The Militant South, 1800-1861
ISBN: 0252070690

University of Illinois Press. 2002

Identifies the factors and causes of the South's festering propensity for aggression that contributed to the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861. This title asserts that the South was dominated by militant white men who resorted to violence in the face of social, personal, or political conflict. It details the consequences of antebellum aggression.

Mirror to America: The Autobiography of John Hope Franklin
ISBN: 0374299447

Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 2005

STATED FIRST EDITION. 2005 FSG hardcover, John Hope Franklin (From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans). John Hope Franklin lived through America's most defining twentieth-century transformation, the dismantling of legally protected racial segregation. A renowned scholar, he has explored that transformation in its myriad aspects, notably in his 3.5-million-copy bestseller, From Slavery to Freedom.

In Search of the Promised Land: A Slave Family in the Old South (New Narratives in American History)
ISBN: 0195160886

Oxford University Press. 2006

The matriarch of a remarkable African American family, Sally Thomas went from being a slave on a tobacco plantation to a "virtually free" slave who ran her own business and purchased one of her sons out of bondage. In Search of the Promised Land offers a vivid portrait of the extended Thomas-Rapier family and of slave life before the Civil War.
Based on personal letters and an autobiography by one of Thomas' sons, this remarkable piece of detective work follows the family as they walk the boundary between slave and free, traveling across the country in search of a "promised land" where African Americans would be treated with respect. Their record of these journeys provides a vibrant picture of antebellum America, ranging from New Orleans to St. Louis to the Overland Trail. The authors weave a compelling narrative that illuminates the larger themes of slavery and freedom while examining the family's experiences with the California Gold Rush, Civil War battles, and steamboat adventures. The documents show how the Thomas-Rapier kin bore witness to the full gamut of slavery--from brutal punishment, runaways, and the breakup of slave families to miscegenation, insurrection panics, and slave patrols. The book also exposes the hidden lives of "virtually free" slaves, who maintained close relationships with whites, maneuvered within the system, and gained a large measure of autonomy.

Collecting African American Art: The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
ISBN: 0300152914

Museum Fine Arts Houston. 2009

This important book showcases institutional and private efforts to collect, document, and preserve African American art in American’s fourth largest city, Houston, Texas. Eminent historian John Hope Franklin’s essay reveals his passionate commitment to collect African American art, while curator Alvia J. Wardlaw discusses works by Robert S. Duncanson, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Horace Pippen, and Bill Traylor as well as pieces by contemporary artists Kojo Griffin and Mequitta Ahuja. Quilts, pottery, and a desk made by an African American slave for his daughter contribute to the overview.

The book also focuses on the collections of the “black intelligentsia,” African Americans who taught at black colleges like Fisk University, where Aaron Douglas founded the art department. A number of the artists represented were collected privately before they were able to exhibit in mainstream museums.


Awards

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1978 - selected by Who's Who in America as one of eight Americans who has made significant contributions to society and elected to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.

1984 - received the Jefferson Medal, awarded by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.

1989 - the first recipient of the Cleanth Brooks Medal of the Fellowship of Southern Writers.

1990 - received the Encyclopedia Britannica Gold Medal for the Dissemination of Knowledge.

1993 - received the Charles Frankel Prize for contributions to the humanities.

1994 - received the Cosmos Club Award and the Trumpet Award from Turner Broadcasting Corporation.

1995 - received the first W.E.B. DuBois Award from the Fisk University Alumni Association, the Organization of American Historians' Award for Outstanding Achievement, the Alpha Phi Alpha Award of Merit, the NAACP's Spingarn Medal, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

1996 - elected to the Oklahoma Historians Hall of Frame.

1997 - received the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award.

In addition to his many awards, Dr. Franklin has received honorary degrees from more than one hundred colleges and universities.