John Hope Franklin Memorial Page
John Hope Franklin, a distinguished scholar who helped create and transform the field of African American history died of congestive heart failure at age 94 on March 25, 2009, in Durham, N.C.
In 1956, John Hope Franklin was appointed full professor and chair of the History Department at Brooklyn College, the first African American to be named chairman of an academic department at a municipal college. He subsequently moved on to the University of Chicago and still later in life to Duke University. Professor Franklin won numerous and prestigious awards, citations and honors throughout his lifetime and is a major American historical figure.
Professor Gertrud Lenzer, director of the Brooklyn College Children’s Studies Program and Center, knew him as a friend and colleague for the past 30 years. They met in 1980–81 when they were both Fellows at the National Humanities Center in Research Triangle Park, N.C. As a memorial to her dear friend, Professor Lenzer wrote The Prince and the Orchid: On the Death of John Hope Franklin (1915–2009) (pdf). In her memorial, she writes, "John Hope was an extraordinary and unique human being. A supporter of our Children’s Studies program and mission. A friend to me and my family. A human being so many of his colleagues and friends loved and cared about deeply. I always called John Hope 'the Prince.' He would laugh and then say that he preferred 'prince' to 'king' because this meant that he was young and had a life full of possibilities ahead of him."
Professor Lenzer spoke of her friend and his long-lasting connection with Brooklyn College in a memorial entitled In Memorium of John Hope Franklin (pdf) at a tribute to his life and legacy held at Brooklyn College on May 27, 2009.
Professor Lenzer will also be attending an event entitled Celebration of the Lives of John Hope and Aurelia Whittington Franklin on June 11, 2009, at Duke University Chapel. For information, visit the Duke University John Hope Franklin Website.