The eminent historian John Hope Franklin died today at the age of 94.
Mr. Franklin was the author of many books, the best known of which is From Slavery to Freedom, a survey of African-American history that was first published in 1947.
Mr. Franklin graduated from Fisk University in 1935 and earned a doctorate in history at Harvard University. In his long career, he taught at St. Augustine’s College, North Carolina Central University, Brooklyn College, and the University of Chicago. In 1983 he moved to Duke University, which today published a tribute to his life and career. (Lengthy obituaries also appear in The New York Times and The Washington Post.)
In 1948 Mr. Franklin served as an expert witness on behalf of Lyman T. Johnson, whose federal lawsuit against the University of Kentucky resulted in the desegregation of that institution.
Among many other honors, including more than 100 honorary degrees, Mr. Franklin was chosen in 1976 to deliver the Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities. That lecture was later published as Racial Equality in America.
In an essay in The Chronicle Review in 2005, Mary Frances Berry reflected on Mr. Franklin’s career. “Those African-Americans who teach in typically underfinanced black colleges today confront the same heavy teaching loads that Franklin bore,” she wrote, “all the while insisting on continuing his research and scholarship.” —David Glenn