I learned this morning that John Hope Franklin, one of America's leading historians, passed away yesterday. Dr. Franklin was generally regarded as the pre-eminent scholar in matters pertaining to African American history. In addition, he was a major figure in helping to see the pivotal 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case become a reality. He was 94 years old.
As a college student with a major in Social Science and an American history concentration, I became familiar with Dr. Franklin's work and read a couple of his books. Most prominent is his seminal work, From Slavery to Freedom, which is an authoritative work on the slave trade and the rise of those of African descent in America to equality. His writing helped to shape my thinking in a number of ways and contributed to some of my understanding of black history.
While living in Ohio several years ago, I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Franklin speak at the University of Akron and was able to briefly meet him after his lecture. I was impressed by his stories as one who grew up in a segregated America and his obvious intelligence and grasp of American history. You can learn some more about Dr. Franklin in a write-up that the Associated Press did here.