The halls of ivy are dark this evening as we learn of the death of the and revered scholar, Dr. John Hope Franklin. Dr. Franklin, who passed away at the age of 94, was the first African-American to serve as a department chair at Duke University. An advisor to presidents, Dr. Franklin's research was a major contributing factor to the 1952 Brown vs the Board of Education which opened up public education to African-Americans. Yet, for so many of us, it is not this landmark decision for which he will be forever remembered with much gratitude and appreciation. Says Duke President Richard H. Brodhead in a written statement: John Hope Franklin lived for nearly a century and helped define that century. A towering historian, he led the recognition that African-American history and American history are one.
Yes, Dr. John Hope Franklin is the primary reason we are now able to study and research the contributions of African-American in an academic setting. This noted historian, scholar, Presidential Medal of Honor recipient, and Harvard graduate once said:
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.The author of From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans, Dr. Franklin touched the lives of so many with his teachings, his writings, and his dedication and commitment to "leave the pile higher than he found it". In a written statement today, President Obama, whom Dr. Franklin endorsed, said of his passing:
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. Dr. Franklin will be deeply missed, but his legacy is one that will surely endure.Dr. Franklin, a Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree, was a member of numerous educational and civic organizations in addition to being the recipient of several awards, honors, and recognitions including, but not limited to:
American Historical Association, American Studies Association, Southern Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, Fisk University Board of Trustees, Chicago Public Library, Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association, Phi Beta Kappa, National Council on the Humanities, President's Advisory Commission on Ambassadorial Appointments, One America: The President's Initiative on Race and Alpha Phi Alpha
Obliged to you for hearing me,
and now old SjP ain't got nothin' more to say...
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John Hope Franklin lived for nearly a century and helped define that century. A towering historian, he led the recognition that African-American history and American history are one.