Duke has obtained more than 300 boxes of documents and other materials belonging to respected historian, civil rights leader and professor John Hope Franklin, the University announced Thursday.
This contribution follows a donation by Franklin of his personal papers in 2003. John and Karen Franklin, the late historian’s son and daughter-in law, donated these documents to the University, which will complete the library archive of the esteemed public scholar.
Franklin is celebrated as a founder in the field of African and African American studies and as a passionate professor at the University, while playing a critical role in civil rights movement. He is known best for his groundbreaking book “From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African-Americans” and for his guidance in race relations as chair of President Bill Clinton’s Advisory Board on Race. A recipient of more than 100 honorary degrees, Franklin participated in the legendary march led by Martin Luther King, Jr. in addition to working with Thurgood Marshall on the Brown v. Board of Education case.
“John Hope Franklin always wanted his papers to have an academic home where they would get into the hands of students and scholars quickly,” his son John W. Franklin said in a press release. “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 papers, comprised of diaries, correspondence, manuscripts of writings and speeches, awards and honors, extensive research files, photographs and videographs, will be available for research after conservation review and archival processing are complete. The collection also includes materials that outline the Franklin’s family personal story, which includes their personal involvement with the civil rights struggle in Tulsa, Okla.
The large addition will be housed in the John Hope Franklin Center for African and African American History and Culture. Part of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the center opened its doors in 1995 in honor of the prominent scholar.
Franklin died in 2009 in Durham of congestive heart failure. He was 94. Deborah Jakubs, Rita DiGiallonardo Holloway University librarian and vice provost for library affairs, noted in the release that the papers will serve as a significant resource for a variety of interests.
“John Hope Franklin was the epitome of the public intellectual—deeply engaged with the issues of his time and yet personally down-to-earth,” she noted. “ We are grateful to the Franklin family for placing his papers here at Duke, his intellectual home for so long.”
The University libraries will commemorate the papers with a reception on Sept. 14. The event will be open to the public.