John Hope Franklin: Imprint of an American Scholar

The Scholar Activist

Simply being an historian was never enough for John Hope Franklin. He was engaged with activism throughout his life, most notably joining a team of scholars to prepare research for the NAACP for the landmark 1954 Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education. While serving on commissions, committees, panels, and think-tanks, Franklin became a leading voice on issues of race relations, civil and human rights, education, childcare, and public policy. He was keenly aware that he had a responsibility to be engaged with social and political movements, and he routinely offered a sense of historical perspective to debates about the problems of the day.

NAACP, Sweatt v. Painter Case, 1949 (1)

NAACP, Sweatt v. Painter Case, 1949 (1)

NAACP, Sweatt v. Painter Case, 1949 (2)

NAACP, Sweatt v. Painter Case, 1949 (2)

NAACP, Sweatt v. Painter Case, 1949

In 1949, John Hope Franklin was asked to provide testimony in the NAACP case against the University of Kentucky. Special Counsel, Robert Carter wrote to Franklin to testify to the needs to have books, professors, and additional students of color in the graduate school to attend the school along with the plaintiff Lyman Johnson.

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NAACP, Brown v. Board of Education Case, 1954 (1)

NAACP, Brown v. Board of Education Case, 1954 (1)

NAACP, Brown v. Board of Education Case, 1954 (2)

NAACP, Brown v. Board of Education Case, 1954 (2)

NAACP, Brown v. Board of Education Case, 1954 (3)

NAACP, Brown v. Board of Education Case, 1954 (3)

NAACP, Brown v. Board of Education Case, 1954

In 1953, John Hope Franklin joined the NAACP Legal Defense team with an illustrious team of research scholars to assist with the Brown v. Board of Education trial.

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Encouraging Words for James Meredith at Ole Miss, 1962 (1)

Encouraging Words for James Meredith at Ole Miss, 1962 (1)

Encouraging Words for James Meredith at Ole Miss, 1962 (2)

Encouraging Words for James Meredith at Ole Miss, 1962 (2)

Encouraging Words for James Meredith at Ole Miss, 1962

In 1962, James Meredith desegregated the University of Mississippi in the face of the most violent racist climate in America. Professor James Silver reached out to John Hope Franklin to ask if he would send Meredith a note of encouragement and a copy of From Slavery to Freedom. Franklin willingly obliged.

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March from Selma to Montgomery, 1965

March from Selma to Montgomery, 1965

On March 21, 1965, John Hope Franklin participated in the March from Selma to Montgomery, walking shoulder to shoulder with a group of US historians amid a crowd of over 8,000 people. It was the third major march in Alabama that year led by Dr. Martin Luther King and a number of civil rights organizations in Alabama to bring attention to need for a federal voting rights act.

┬ęDennis Hopper Courtesy The Hopper Art Trust www.dennishopper.com

Letter to Sen. Terry Sanford regarding Clarence Thomas' confirmation hearing, 1991

Letter to Sen. Terry Sanford regarding Clarence Thomas' confirmation hearing, 1991

Letter to Sen. Terry Sanford regarding Clarence Thomas' confirmation hearing, 1991

Letter to Sen. Terry Sanford regarding Clarence Thomas' confirmation hearing, 1991

Letter to Sen. Terry Sanford regarding Clarence Thomas' confirmation hearing, 1991

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Meeting notes from the Advisory Board for the President's Advisory on Race, 1997 (10

Meeting notes from the Advisory Board for the President's Advisory on Race, 1997 (1)

Meeting notes from the Advisory Board for the President's Advisory on Race, 1997 (2)

Meeting notes from the Advisory Board for the President's Advisory on Race, 1997 (2)

Meeting notes from the Advisory Board for the President's Advisory on Race, 1997 (3)

Meeting notes from the Advisory Board for the President's Advisory on Race, 1997 (3)

Meeting notes from the Advisory Board for the President's Advisory on Race, 1997

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Materials related to the Advisory Board for the President's Initiative on Race, 1997 (1)

Materials related to the Advisory Board for the President's Initiative on Race, 1997 (1)

Materials related to the Advisory Board for the President's Initiative on Race, 1997 (2)

Materials related to the Advisory Board for the President's Initiative on Race, 1997 (2)

Materials related to the Advisory Board for the President's Initiative on Race, 1997

Pamphlet for "One America in the 21st Century"

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John Hope Franklin: Imprint of an American Scholar

This exhibition explores Dr. John Hope Franklin's indelible imprint on the classroom, the institution, his public and private relationships, and his life's work of utilizing history and knowledge to cultivate a better human society.

Perkins Gallery
Duke University Libraries
Durham, North Carolina

January - May 11, 2015

Looking for a previous version of this exhibit? Use the Internet Archive's stored version of the page.