John Hope Franklin; OBITUARY

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), March 30, 2009 | Go to article overview

John Hope Franklin; OBITUARY


THE small boy thrown off a train in 1920s America because he was black was an all-too common experience.

But at least he was encouraged by his mother to keep his pride and dignity intact. It was advice that served him well, right up to the time some 80 years later when he was able to acclaim, with some honest amazement, the inauguration of Barack Obama as America's first black president.

John Hope Franklin had been born to a middle-class black family in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

By one set of standards, it was a prosperous background: his father was a lawyer, his mother a teacher.

But the suburb of Rentiesville was so separate from white America that it may as well have been a different country: hence, the incident when young John and his family were ejected from a train for sitting in the whiteonly section.

He planned to follow his father into the law, but a white professor at the allblack Fisk University, in Tennessee, inspired him to switch to history, and then help fund his post-graduate studies at Harvard.

He took his PhD in 1941, and six years later published the ground-breaking study From Slavery to Freedom. …

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