John Hope Franklin is the James B. Duke Professor of History Emeritus and for seven years was Professor Legal History in the law school at Duke University. He is a native of Oklahoma and a graduate of Fisk University. He received the A.M. and Ph.D. degrees in history from Harvard University. He has taught at a number of institutions, including Fisk University, St. Augustine's College, North Carolina Central University, and Howard University. In 1956 he went to Brooklyn College as Chairman of the Department of History there; and in 1964, he joined the faculty of the University of Chicago, serving as Chairman of the Department of History from 1967 to 1970. There, he was the John Matthews Manly Distinguished Service Professor from 1969 to 1982, when he became Emeritus Professor.
Professor Franklin's numerous publications include The Emancipation Proclamation, The Militant South, The Free Negro in North Carolina, Reconstruction After the Civil War, and A Southern Odyssey: Travelers in the Ante-bellum North. Perhaps his best known book is From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African-Americans, now in its seventh edition, which appeared in 1994. His Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities for 1976 was published in 1985, received the Clarence L. Holte Literary Prize for that year. In 1990, a collection of essays covering a teaching and writing career of fifty years, was published under the title, Race and History: Selected Essays, 1938-1988. Later, he published The Color Line: Legacy for the Twenty-first Century in the early year of 1993. Due out in the fall of 1997, Professor Franklin's next book, My Life and an Era: The Autobiography of Buck Colbert Franklin, is an autobiography of his father that he edited along with his son, John Whittington Franklin. His current research deals with "Dissidents on the Plantation: Runaway Slaves."
Through the years, he has been active in professional and education organizations. For many years he has served on the editorial board of The Journal of Negro History. He also served as President of the following organizations: The American Studies Association (1967), the Southern Historical Association (1970), the United Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa (1973-76), the Organization of American Historians (1975), and the American Historical Association (1979). He has been a member of the Board of Trustees of Fisk University, the Chicago Public Library, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association.
Professor Franklin has served on many national commissions and delegations, including the National Council on the Humanities, from which he resigned in 1979, when the President appointed him to the Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. Another appointment was his membership on the President's Advisory Commission on Ambassadorial Appointments. In September and October of 1980, he was a United States delegate to the 21st General Conference of UNESCO. Among many other foreign assignments have been Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions at Cambridge University, Consultant on American Education in the Soviet Union, Fulbright Professor in Au stralia, and Lecturer in American History in the People's Republic of China.
He has been the recipient of many honors. Among them is Professor Franklin's selection in 1978 by Who's Who in America one of eight Americans who has made significant contributions to society. In the same year, he was elected to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. He also received the Jefferson Medal for 1984, awarded by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. In 1989, he was the first recipient of the Cleanth Brooks Medal of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and in 1990 received the Encyclopedia Britannica Gold Medal for the Dissemination of Knowl edge. In 1993, he received the Charles Frankel Prize for contributions to the humanities, and in 1994, the Cosmos Club Award and the Trumpet Award from Turner Broadcasting Corporation. In 1995, he received the first W.E.B. Du Bois Award from the Fisk Un iversity 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. In 1996, Professor Franklin was elected to the Oklahoma Historians Hall of Fame and in 1997 received the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award. Aside from the many awards, Professor Franklin has received honorary degrees from more than one hundred colleges and universities.
In addition, Professor Franklin has been extensively written about in
various articles and books. Most recently, he was the focus of "First
Person Singular," a documentary series on prominent figures of today.
Produced by Lives and Legacies Films, this documentary was featured on
PBS in June 1997.
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