March 26th, 2009
03:15 PM ET

John Hope Franklin, 1915-2009

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[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/26/franklin-john-hope.jpg caption="John Hope Franklin"]

Jami Floyd
AC360° Contributor
In Session Anchor

Historian John Hope Franklin died yesterday in Durham, North Carolina. He was 94. Perhaps you have never heard of Dr. Franklin. Historians — even the great ones — make it their business to document the big events. Rarely are they at the center of it all. But as an African-American child born in the 1960s, I heard early and often about John Hope Franklin. He was not just a historian. He was a scholar of our history— the history of black people in America.

As such, Dr. Franklin wasn’t content to sit on the sidelines while his people struggled for equality. He marched on Selma. He met with presidents. He consulted with the lawyers who would argue Brown v. Board of Education in the U.S. Supreme Court. With Dr. Franklin’s help, they were able to convince the Justices that separate was inherently unequal. This, of course, had a direct impact on my life and the lives of generations of black children since.


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soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Jeri Wingo

    Much Love and Respect for and to the memory of John Hope Franklin.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  2. CheZaye

    What an extraordinary life lived...as the old guard passes I hope we will have new ones to take up the mantle.

    March 26, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  3. erin morrissey

    my prayers go out to the family.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  4. Michael C. McHugh

    He was one of the great historians who changed the way we write about Reconstruction–the First Reconstruction after the Civil War. Because of historians like Franklin, that period is presented in a far more sympathetic light today than it was before 1950.

    March 26, 2009 at 4:15 pm |