Film, Video Mirror to America: The Autobiography of John Hope Franklin

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Mirror to America: The Autobiography of John Hope Franklin
Historian John Hope Franklin discussed his new autobiography, "Mirror to America: The Autobiography of John Hope Franklin." Franklin, who helped redirect the social and political course of the United States throughout the 20th century, is the author and editor of 17 books, including the best-selling "From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans." Franklin has been the subject of one documentary, "First Person Singular: John Hope Franklin," and co-hosted another with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, "Tutu and Franklin: A Journey Towards Peace."
Event Date
November 01, 2005
-  John Hope Franklin is the James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of History and for seven years was professor of legal history in the law school at Duke University. He is a native of Oklahoma and a graduate of Fisk University. He received master's and doctorate degrees in history from Harvard University. He has taught at a number of institutions, including Fisk University, St. Augustine's College, North Carolina Central University and Howard University. In 1956 he went to Brooklyn College to serve as chairman of the department of history; and in 1964, he joined the faculty of the University of Chicago, serving as chairman of the department of history from 1967 to 1970. At Chicago, he was the John Matthews Manly Distinguished Service Professor from 1969 to 1982, when he became professor emeritus. Franklin's numerous publications include "The Emancipation Proclamation," "The Militant South," "The Free Negro in North Carolina," "Reconstruction After the Civil War" and "A Southern Odyssey: Travelers in the Ante-bellum North." Perhaps his best known book is "From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African-Americans," now in its seventh edition. In 1990, a collection of essays covering a teaching and writing career of fifty years was published under the title, "Race and History: Selected Essays, 1938-1988." Franklin has been active in numerous professional and education organizations. For many years, he has served on the editorial board of the Journal of Negro History. He has also served as president of The American Studies Association (1967), the Southern Historical Association (1970), the United Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa (1973-76), the Organization of American Historians (1975) and the American Historical Association (1979). Franklin has served on many national commissions and delegations, including the National Council on the Humanities, from which he resigned in 1979, when the president appointed him to the Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. He has also served on the President's Advisory Commission on Ambassadorial Appointments. In September and October of 1980, he was a United States delegate to the 21st General Conference of UNESCO. Among many other foreign assignments, Franklin has served as Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions at Cambridge University, consultant on American Education in the Soviet Union, Fulbright Professor in Australia and lecturer in American History in the People's Republic of China. Currently, he serves as chairman of the advisory board for One America: The President's Initiative on Race. Franklin has been the recipient of many honors. In 1978, Who's Who in America selected him as one of eight Americans who has made significant contributions to society. In the same year, he was elected to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. He also received the Jefferson Medal for 1984, awarded by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. In 1989, he was the first recipient of the Cleanth Brooks Medal of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and in 1990 received the Encyclopedia Britannica Gold Medal for the Dissemination of Knowledge. In 1993, Franklin received the Charles Frankel Prize for contributions to the humanities, and in 1994 the Cosmos Club Award and the Trumpet Award from Turner Broadcasting Corporation. In 1995, he received the first W.E.B. DuBois Award from the Fisk University Alumni Association, the Organization of American Historians' Award for Outstanding Achievement, the Alpha Phi Alpha Award of Merit, the NAACP's Spingarn Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1996, Franklin was elected to the Oklahoma Historians Hall of Frame, and in 1997 he received the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award. In addition to his many awards, Franklin has received honorary degrees from more than one hundred colleges and universities.
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John W. Kluge Center:
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Running Time
54 minutes 14 seconds
Online Format

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Mirror to America: The Autobiography of John Hope Franklin. 2005. Video.

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(2005) Mirror to America: The Autobiography of John Hope Franklin. [Video] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

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Mirror to America: The Autobiography of John Hope Franklin. 2005. Video. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.

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