Reported by ASALH
John Hope Franklin, the scholar who was a pioneer in the field of African American history and dominated it for nearly six decades, has died at the age of 94.
Franklin, James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of History, was a scholar who brought intellectual rigor as well as an engaged passion to his work. He wrote about history – one of his books, From Slavery to Freedom, is considered a core text on the African American experience, more than 60 years after its publication – and he lived it. Franklin worked on the Brown v. Board of Education (1954) case, joined protestors in a 1965 march led by Martin Luther King, Jr. in Montgomery, Ala. and headed President Clinton’s 1997 National Advisory Board on Race.
Though Dr. Franklin gained national recognition for his work on President Clinton’s 1997 task force on race, his reputation as a scholar was made in 1947 with the publication of his book, “From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African-Americans,” which is still considered the definitive account of the black experience in America.
At the 92nd Annual ASALH convention, we had the privilege of honoring Dr. Franklin and this seminal work. Conventioneers and the public were treated to conversations and special moments with Dr. Franklin who relayed stories from his life that helped to shape him into the scholar that he became.
He received more than 130 honorary degrees, and served as president of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, the American Studies Association, the Southern Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association and was a Life Member of ASALH, former ASALH National Vice President, and a member of the ASALH Advisory Board until his death.
The Executive Council of ASALH is proud to say that we had the honor to work with and know Dr. John Hope Franklin and it is with sad and heavy hearts that we give him back to the Lord. “Dr. Franklin never waivered in his support for ASALH,” said Sylvia Cyrus, ASALH Executive Director. “Recently he lent his voice to the ASALH project “Freedom’s Song” on the Tulsa Race Riots. Through this video generations will continue to learn from Dr. Franklin, a tireless educator and dignified American.” “We have lost a strong supporter and a dear friend,” said Dr. John E. Fleming, ASALH National President. “He has left a void in the world of history that will not soon be filled.” There will be a celebration of his life and of his late wife Aurelia Franklin at 11 a.m. June 11 in Duke Chapel in honor of their 69th wedding anniversary.
– The Officers, Executive Council, and Advisory Board of ASALH “Founders of Black History Month”