It is unfortunate that we report that Dr. John Hope Franklin has passed. He was one of the most engaging historians you would ever want to hear. I was a freshman in required attendance at a convocation at an HBCU (fellow HBCU grads know what I’m talking about) when I encountered him for the first time. The way he discussed our history in this country was unlike I had ever heard before.
There are a whole host of historians that have come and gone with all of our information that so many of us haven’t even known to miss. We don’t hear about them and a lot of us aren’t raised knowing to read their papers and/or go wherever they are speaking and listen. John Hope Franklin is a national treasure that has taught at every university that is considered the educational elite in this country.
I could go on and on with his accolades of being Professor Emeritus at Duke, heading Clinton’s Initiative on Race, or that he is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, but those things pale in comparison to the body of work that he assembled to make those other things possible.
John Hope Franklin has set the stage for the existence of African American Studies to exist on the college level. He, along with his peers Dr. John Henrik Clark (passed in 1998), Dr. Yosef Ben jochannan aka “Dr. Ben”, Dr. Ivan Van Sertima, Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop (passed in 1986) and let us not leave Dr. Frances Cress Welsing out, are African Americans’ key to their origins and I bet most of us don’t even know who they are or what they have written. Dr. Welsing is in the area of psychology, but lends us probably the most priceless element of our mental emancipation in knowing our history and applying it to the treatment process. (Read his bio via Wikipedia here.)
Dr. Franklin and his peers offer the greatest deliverance from African American mental and physical slavery ever forged.
Enjoy an interview Charlie Rose did with Dr. John Hope Franklin on his show. Love him as I do. Rest in peace sir. Rest in peace.