PEN Remembers Dr. John Hope Franklin
Dr. John Hope Franklin, eminent historian and vanguard of the Civil Rights Movement, passed away March 25th, 2009 at the age of 94.
Dr. Franklin graduated with a doctorate in history from Harvard in 1941. His teaching career began at his undergraduate alma matar, Fisk University. Then in 1956, Franklin was recruited to chair the history department at Brooklyn College, making him the first person of color to chair a major history department. He went on to also chair the history department at the University of Chicago. Best known for his book, From Slavery to Freedom, Franklin fought for equality both in politics and in history. “My challenge,” said Franklin “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.”
Throughout his life, Dr. Franklin served as the president of the Phi Beta Kappa society, the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association, and the Southern Historical Association. In 1985 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work as a civil rights activist.