Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Duke’s John Hope Franklin dies at age 94

The AP’s reported within the last hour - - -

Duke University professor John Hope Franklin, a revered historian of life in the South and the African-American experience, has died. He was 94.

Duke says Franklin died Wednesday of congestive heart failure at the university's hospital in Durham.

Born and raised in an all-black community in Oklahoma and often subjected to humiliating incidents of racism, Franklin broke numerous color barriers during his career.

He was the first black department chair at a mostly white institution and the first black president of the American Historical Association.

Franklin was part of the team of scholars who assisted Thurgood Marshall to win Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 case that outlawed the "separate but equal" doctrine in the nation's public schools.


Duke News has just posted a lengthy obituary tribute which includes the following:

...[Franklin] is survived by his son, John Whittington Franklin, daughter-in-law Karen Roberts Franklin, sister-in-law Bertha W. Gibbs, cousin Grant Franklin Sr., a host of nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, other family members, many generations of students and friends. 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.

“John Hope Franklin lived for nearly a century and helped define that century,” said Duke President Richard H. Brodhead. “A towering historian, he led the recognition that African-American history and American history are one. With his grasp of the past, he spent a lifetime building a future of inclusiveness, fairness and equality. Duke has lost a great citizen and a great friend.”

[In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that contributions be made to the Aurelia W. and John Hope Franklin Endowed Scholarship Fund at Fisk University, c/o Office of Institutional Advancement, 1000 17th Street North, Nashville, TN 37208.] ...
The entire obituary, accompanied by a portrait photo, is here.

In 1998 the Raleigh News & Observer selected Franklin Tar Heel of the Year. You can read the profile it did at the time here.

John Hope Franklin (1915 – 2009), R.I.P.