Page last updated at 20:52 GMT, Wednesday, 25 March 2009

US historian Franklin dies at 94

John Hope Franklin in 1997
Mr Franklin published From Slavery to Freedom in 1947

The US historian John Hope Franklin, a pioneering scholar of black American history, has died at the age of 94.

His 1947 book From Slavery to Freedom is regarded as a landmark volume of black American history, and remains on US school syllabuses.

Mr Franklin, born and raised in an all-black community in Oklahoma, helped in the 1954 Brown vs Board of Education case against racial segregation.

He was also the first black president of the American Historical Association.

I want to be out there on the firing line, helping, directing or doing something to try to make this a better world
John Hope Franklin in 2005

"It was evident how much the lawyers appreciated what the historians could offer," Mr Franklin once wrote about his contribution to the 1954 case. "For me, and I suspect the same was true for the others, it was exhilarating."

Mr Franklin was the first black department chair at a predominantly white institution, Brooklyn College as well as the first black professor to hold an endowed chair at Duke University.


His book delved into the important contribution African-Americans had made to the nation right back to its very founding - he pointed out that black patriots had fought in the War of Independence and had accompanied George Washington on his march across the Delaware.

Often exasperated by the state of America, he refused to give up on the country.

"I want to be out there on the firing line, helping, directing or doing something to try to make this a better world, a better place to live," he told The Associated Press in 2005.

Print Sponsor

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific