Durham, NC - Duke University announced Thursday it has acquired more than 300 boxes of papers and other materials belonging to late historian and Duke professor John Hope Franklin.
Franklin is widely credited with transforming the study of American history through his scholarship, while helping to transform American society through his activism. He is best known for his groundbreaking book "From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African-Americans" (1947) and for his leadership on President Clinton's 1997 National Advisory Board on Race.
Franklin donated a small collection of his personal papers to Duke in 2003. This large addition, donated by Franklin's son and daughter-in-law John Whittington Franklin and Karen Roberts Franklin, completes the archive of one of the 20th century's most distinguished public scholars.
After receiving a doctorate from Harvard University in 1941, Franklin taught at St. Augustine's University, North Carolina Central University, Howard University, Brooklyn College, University of Chicago and Duke University -- breaking many racial barriers along the way. Deeply involved in the Civil Rights movement, he worked with Thurgood Marshall on the Brown v. Board of Education case and joined protestors in the march led by Martin Luther King Jr. from Selma to Montgomery, Ala. He was the recipient of more than 100 honorary degrees, and President Clinton awarded him the Medal of Freedom in 1995.
Franklin died in Durham in 2009.
The donation of papers includes diaries, correspondence, manuscripts of writings and speeches, awards and honors, extensive research files, photographs and video recordings. The collection also includes materials that trace the Franklin family's personal history, including its long involvement with the civil rights struggle in Tulsa, Okla.
The papers will be held in the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture, part of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke. The center was founded in 1995 in honor of its namesake. The papers will open for research after conservation review and archival processing are complete. The opening will be announced on the Rubenstein Library's website (library.duke.edu/rubenstein).
"John Hope Franklin always wanted his papers to have an academic home where they would get into the hands of students and scholars quickly," said John Whittington Franklin. "He wanted to make sure that they would be used. We found such a home for his papers in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library of the Duke Libraries, with a dedicated staff to care for the collection."
"The John Hope Franklin papers are an important resource for anyone interested in African- American history, U.S. history in general or the life of a great historian," said Deborah Jakubs, Rita DiGiallonardo Holloway University Librarian and Vice Provost for Library Affairs at Duke. "John Hope Franklin was the epitome of the public intellectual -- deeply engaged with the issues of his time and yet personally down-to-earth. We are grateful to the Franklin family for placing his papers here at Duke, his intellectual home for so long."
The Duke University Libraries will celebrate the John Hope Franklin papers with a reception at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 14 in the Gothic Reading Room of the Rubenstein Library. The event is free and open to the public.