TITLE: John Hope Franklin: Where Do We Go from Here?
SPEAKER: John Hope Franklin
EVENT DATE: 03/06/2007
FORMAT: Video + Captions
RUNNING TIME: 77 minutes
TRANSCRIPT: View Transcript (link will open in a new window)
Distinguished historian John Hope Franklin, recipient of the 2006 John W. Kluge Prize for the Study of Humanity, discussed the history of the African-American experience and poses the question, "Where Do We Go from Here?" In a frank and honest discussion, he used his personal experiences to examine the successes and failures of race relations in America.
Speaker Biography: John Hope Franklin, who shared the $1 million 2006 Kluge Prize with Chinese historian Yu Ying-shih, helped redirect the social and political course of the United States throughout the 20th century. He is the author and editor of 18 books, including the best-selling "From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans." Much of the research for his recently published autobiography, "Mirror to America" was done while he was a Distinguished Senior Visiting Scholar at the Library's Kluge Center in 2001. Franklin graduated from Fisk University in 1935 and received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1941. After teaching at several institutions, including Howard University, in 1956 he went to Brooklyn College as chairman of the Department of History, the first such appointment of an African-American in the country. In 1964, he joined the faculty of the University of Chicago, serving as chairman of the Department of History from 1967 to 1970. He completed his academic career at Duke University as the James B. Duke Professor of History and for seven years served as a professor of legal history. In 1953, Franklin helped Thurgood Marshall and the Legal Defense Fund successfully re-argue Brown v. Board of Education before the U.S. Supreme Court, which struck down the "separate but equal" doctrine and required the desegregation of schools across America. For interventions regarding American racism, for his academic achievements and for numerous acts of public service, Franklin has received many honors, including the Jefferson Medal (1984), the Charles Frankel Prize for contributions to the humanities (1993) and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1995). He has received honorary degrees from more than 130 colleges and universities. Through the years, Franklin has served on many national commissions and delegations, including the National Council on the Humanities and the Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. Most recently, in 1997 President Clinton appointed him as chair of the President's Initiative on Race, which sought to improve the national dialogue on race. The Kluge Prize, given to Franklin and Yu on Dec. 5, 2006, rewards lifetime achievement in the wide range of disciplines not covered by the Nobel prizes, including history, philosophy, politics, anthropology, sociology, religion, criticism in the arts and humanities and linguistics.