Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Posted by Culture of Truth

John Hope Franklin, the revered historian who chronicled the struggles of black Americans and the country’s efforts to deal with race, died today in Durham, N.C. He was 94. Dr. Franklin died of congestive heart failure at Duke Hospital in Durham, said David Jarmul, a spokesman for Duke, where Mr. Franklin was the first black professor to hold an endowed chair.

Dr. Franklin, whose best-known book, “From Slavery to Freedom: A History of Negro Americans” (“African Americans” in its most recent printing) has gone through eight editions and is generally considered the leading text on the subject, had a sense of black history lived as well as written.

His father, one of the first black lawyers in Oklahoma, had argued before the Supreme Court, been an outspoken opponent of segregation, and had his office burned down by race rioters. Dr. Franklin carried on his father’s work, serving as an adviser to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, helping write the brief the NAACP submitted to the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 decision that ruled segregated schools unconstitutional.

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