Monday, April 06, 2009

The Pursuit of Scholastic Truth

One of the most learned and accomplished American historians in modern times passed away recently. To someone who very much values and respects education and scholarship, tracing John Hope Franklin’s career in academia is like strolling down a path through some of this country’s highest ranking institutions of higher education. He was an educator at Harvard, Cornell, Duke, U.C. Berkeley, as well as the University of Chicago and received 90 honorary degrees throughout the course of his life.

Not surprising for an individual of African descent born in the American rural south, John Hope Franklin grew up amongst crushing racism and crippling poverty. Nonetheless, thanks in large part to his parents' influence, he was reading and writing by the age of four.

This love of scholarship and a strong personal sense of social justice would propel him to participate in two of this country’s most important events regarding civil rights. He provided Thurgood Marshall with valuable historical insight in mounting his landmark case of Brown vs. the Board of Education and he joined Martin Luther King Jr. in the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

John Hope Franklin is also the author of several important works establishing the integral role Americans of African descent have played throughout the course of this country’s history. One such title that is considered to be the definitive account of the subject is From Slavery to Freedom: a History of African Americans.

Find this and other notable books written by this prolific American scholar within the Austin Public Library’s collection. I’ve listed a few items below to get you started.


The color line: legacy for the twenty-first century

George Washington Williams: a biography

Mirror to America: the autobiography of John Hope Franklin

Runaway slaves: rebels on the plantation

In search of the promised land: a Black family and the Old South

Electronic Books:

The color line [electronic resource]: legacy for the twenty-first century

The free Negro in North Carolina, 1790-1860 [electronic resource]

Race and history [electronic resource]: selected essays, 1938-1988

Racial equality in America [electronic resource]

Runaway slaves [electronic resource]: rebels on the plantation


First person singular [video recording]: John Hope Franklin

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