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Dispatches from the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Duke University
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ABC’s of John Hope Franklin (P) – President’s Initiative on Race

Wed, 07/22/2015 - 15:00

In June 1997, President Bill Clinton announced the creation of “One America in the 21st Century: The President’s Initiative on Race,” a 15-month initiative that was established to encourage community dialogue on race relations in the United States. Through the development of guidelines to promote national dialogue, the Board hoped to bridge racial divides and calm tensions, increase understanding about racial issues, and develop concrete solutions to racial challenges.

One America Pamphlet

John Hope Franklin was appointed Chairman of the seven member advisory board whose members included: William F. Winter (former Democratic Governor of Mississippi), Linda Chavez-Thompson (Executive Vice-President, AFL-CIO), Robert Thomas (President and CEO of Nissan Motor Corporation, USA), Angela E. Oh (attorney), Susan D. Johnson Cook (Senior Pastor, Bronx Christian Fellowship), and Thomas H. Kean (former Republican Governor of New Jersey).

John Hope Franklin’s annotated meeting agenda.

The President’s Advisory Board on Race faced intense public scrutiny and was widely criticized by civil rights activists, who felt that the Board did not have a tangible end goal, and could not adequately represent the interests of the entire population on race matters. Critics also felt that dialogue was not sufficient for addressing serious race related problems in the United States.

In spite of the negative press the initiative endured, Franklin felt the work of the board was a  much needed step in having a national conversation on race.

This series is a part of Duke University’s John Hope Franklin@100: Scholar, Activist, Citizen year-long celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. John Hope Franklin

Submitted by Gloria Ayee, Franklin Research Center Intern

The post ABC’s of John Hope Franklin (P) – President’s Initiative on Race appeared first on The Devil's Tale.

ABC’s of John Hope Franklin – (O) Orchids

Fri, 07/10/2015 - 15:00

One of John Hope Franklin’s most well known hobbies was growing orchids and he had a prized collection, which included over 1000 orchids of different varieties, shapes, and sizes. In 1959, while teaching in Hawaii, Franklin became fascinated with the precious flower.

John Hope Franklin tending to his greenhouse. 1960’s

 

Many of Franklin’s orchids were acquired during his travels around the world, and he built greenhouses in his homes in Brooklyn, Chicago, and Durham to cultivate and house his special collection of orchid specimens and hybrids. Franklin’s custom-built greenhouse at his home in Durham measured 17 x 25 feet.

John Hope and John Whittington Franklin in the family Greenhouse, 1960’s

 

In 1976, John T. Wilson, president of the University of Chicago named an orchid hybrid in honor of Franklin, the Phalaenopis John Hope Franklin. The flower, which is white and red in color, is recognized by Britain’s Royal Horticultural Society. Another species of orchid was named in honor of Aurelia Franklin after her passing in 1999.

Phalaenopis John Hope Franklin

 

The Franklin family was renowned for their orchid collection, and frequently showed them off to visitors to their home; John Hope frequently referred to them as his “babies.”

This series is a part of Duke University’s John Hope Franklin@100: Scholar, Activist, Citizen year-long celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. John Hope Franklin

Submitted by Gloria Ayee, Franklin Research Center Intern

The post ABC’s of John Hope Franklin – (O) Orchids appeared first on The Devil's Tale.

ABC’s of John Hope Franklin – (N) NAACP

Wed, 06/24/2015 - 15:00

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), founded in 1909, is the oldest and largest civil rights organization in the United States.

In 1949, the NAACP approached John Hope Franklin to provide his expertise and testify at the Lyman Johnson v. University of Kentucky trial. The Johnson case successfully challenged the “separate but equal” doctrine that had been established by the Plessy v. Fergusson trial of 1896. John Hope Franklin later worked as the lead historian for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund team in preparation for Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. Franklin’s research contributed to Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP’s legal victory in this landmark case.

Letter from Robert Carter, NAACP, to John Hope Franklin, 1949 Pay invoice to John Hope Franklin for work on the Brown v. Board of Education, 1953

His relationship with the NAACP continued throughout his life, serving as a memeber of committees of the Legal Defense Fund and a mentor to a number of leaders in the organization. In 1995, the NAACP honored John Hope Franklin with the Spingarn Medal, “in recognition of an unrelenting quest for truth and the enlightenment of Western Civilization.” The Spingarn Medal is the NAACP’s highest honor, and is awarded annually to a person of African descent and American citizenship. The recipient of the Spingarn Medal is an individual who has attained high achievement and distinguished merit in any field.

Program from the 80th Spingarn Medal award, 1995

This series is a part of Duke University’s John Hope Franklin@100: Scholar, Activist, Citizen year-long celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. John Hope Franklin

Submitted by Gloria Ayee, Franklin Research Center Intern

The post ABC’s of John Hope Franklin – (N) NAACP appeared first on The Devil's Tale.

ABC’s of John Hope Hope Franklin – (M) Mirror to America

Fri, 06/12/2015 - 15:00

Mirror to America: The Autobiography of John Hope Franklin is a riveting memoir that chronicles Franklin’s life and offers a candid account of America’s complex history of civil rights the final book written by Franklin. Mirror to America was published in 2005 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Mirror to America, 2005

Franklin spent a number of years researching his own history, locating documents related to his family and his hometown, Rentiesville, Oklahoma. Once the book was completed, Franklin went on a national speaking tour, to not only share his personal story but discuss the impact of race in the many events he witnessed in American history.

Itinerary for Mirror to American book tour, 2006

In 2011, two years after Franklin’s death, Mirror to America received the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights Book Award. The RFK Book Award is presented to a novelist who “most faithfully and forcefully reflects Robert Kennedy’s purposes – his concern for the poor and the powerless, his struggle for honest and even-handed justice, his conviction that a decent society must assure all young people a fair chance, and his faith that a free democracy can act to remedy disparities of power and opportunity.”

This series is a part of Duke University’s John Hope Franklin@100: Scholar, Activist, Citizen year-long celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. John Hope Franklin

Submitted by Gloria Ayee, Franklin Research Center Intern

The post ABC’s of John Hope Hope Franklin – (M) Mirror to America appeared first on The Devil's Tale.

ABC’s of John Hope Franklin – (L) Leisure Activities

Fri, 05/29/2015 - 15:00

After the Tulsa Riots occurred in 1921, Buck Franklin, John Hope’s father, was separated from the family for extended periods of time until the entire Franklin family was able to move to Tulsa, OK in 1925. Over the period of separation, Mollie Franklin, John Hope’s mother, took charge of family affairs and raising the children, and even taught John Hope how to fish, in preparation to be a boy scout. Fishing would remain a lifelong hobby for John Hope Franklin. As a young man, he would go fishing with his father. Later in life, John Hope would frequently go fishing in Montana.

Franklin casting a line in Montana, undated Franklin celebrating a catch, undated

In addition to fishing, Franklin loved to cook. His friends and students often spoke about the delicious meals that he prepared, and they described him as an excellent cook. The Franklin family were revered as hosts to anyone who visited their home.

John Hope and his wife Aurelia also traveled extensively due to his extremely busy speaking engagements and visiting professor commitments.

John Hope and Aurelia Franklin sailing in San Francisco, 1970s

 

Another of John Hope Franklin’s hobbies was growing orchids and he had a prized collection, which included over 1000 orchids of different varieties, shapes, and sizes. Franklin built his first substantial greenhouse at his home in Brooklyn, New York.

This series is a part of Duke University’s John Hope Franklin@100: Scholar, Activist, Citizen year-long celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. John Hope Franklin

Submitted by Gloria Ayee, Franklin Research Center Intern

The post ABC’s of John Hope Franklin – (L) Leisure Activities appeared first on The Devil's Tale.

ABC’s of John Hope Franklin – (K) Knopf Publishing Company

Fri, 05/15/2015 - 15:00

Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. is a publishing house located in New York. The company was founded by Alfred A. Knopf, Sr. in 1915, was acquired by Random House in 1960, and is now part of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Alfred A. Knopf published John Hope Franklin’s seminal work, From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans in 1947. In 1945, John Hope Franklin wrote to Knopf to see if the publisher would be interested in his project on the Martial South. On December 13, 1945, Robert Shugg, editor of the College Department replied that Knopf’s interest in the project would require an outline to see if the project was appealing to them. But in the second part of his letter, Shugg asked if Franklin would be interested in writing a history of the Negro. Franklin’s initial response was lukewarm, as his interests were primarily in the history of the American South. But correspondence between the two continued over a number of months until Franklin agreed to Knopf’s proposal.

Letter from Robert Shugg to John Hope Franklin, 1945

 

In six months, Franklin wrote the first five chapters of his work under the title “The American Negro: A History.” Robert Shugg noted, “It promises to be a book of genuine distinction, not only as a useful text but as an interesting and authoritative reference work for a good many years to come.”  Even with modest sales of the first edition, Knopf contracted an updated second edition for printing in 1954. The burgeoning civil rights movement spawned a global interest in the history of African Americans, and From Slavery to Freedom served as a guide to understanding the changes taking place in America. Knopf continued publication of the work through it’s 8th edition.

Robert Shugg commenting on the first five chapters on “The American Negro: A History,” 1946

This series is a part of Duke University’s John Hope Franklin@100: Scholar, Activist, Citizen year-long celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. John Hope Franklin

Submitted by Gloria Ayee, Franklin Research Center Intern

The post ABC’s of John Hope Franklin – (K) Knopf Publishing Company appeared first on The Devil's Tale.