Scholar/Activist John Hope Franklin’s Pathbreaking Textbook

From Slavery to FreedomOn September 22, 1947, John Hope Franklin published From Slavery to Freedom. The definitive history of African Americans traces origins in Africa, years of slavery, and struggles for freedom.

Still in print with more than 3 million copies sold, the book has been translated into many languages. It is widely considered the definitive survey text for courses in African American history.

Franklin held teaching appointments at Saint Augustine’s and North Carolina Central before capping off his academic career at Duke, where an interdisciplinary and international studies center continues his pioneering work.

During his storied career, Franklin served as president of Phi Beta Kappa, the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association and the Southern Historical Association. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 1995.

Aside from his role as historian, scholar, civil rights activist and adviser to presidents, Franklin was known for nurturing more than 300 orchids in his Durham greenhouse and helping to establish the Durham Literacy Center.

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