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John Hope Franklin's impact on Tulsa, the nation

John Hope Franklin
Posted at 12:22 PM, Jan 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-04 13:40:58-05

Even years later, John Hope Franklin's legacy is remembered and how it's impacted Oklahoma.

Franklin was born on Jan. 2, 1915, in Rentiesville, Oklahoma. His parents named him after John Hope, the first African-American president of Atlanta University.

Growing up, Franklin was no stranger to social justice. Franklin's father, a civil rights lawyer, defended the survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. The exposure to his father's work influenced Franklin in his later career.

Franklin graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in 1931. He later went to Fisk University for his undergraduate degree and earned a master's and a doctorate from Harvard University.

His career spanned decades through teaching. Some of the places he taught include Fisk University, North Carolina College at Durham, and Howard University.

His publication of "From Slavery to Freedom: A History of Negro Americans" in 1947 is still used in courses throughout the world. His work in scholarly journals and editorials produced studies, research, and discourse that made an impact on Americans.

Franklin wasn't just a teacher. He was also sought for counsel by America's then leading figures. He worked as a member of the research team in the now-famous landmark Brown v. Board of Education case. He was also present and influential on the march in Selma in 1965 led by Dr. Martin Luther King.

He has been awarded many honors for his dedication to history, fight for social justice, and impact. Franklin has been a member of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1978. He was the first native Oklahoman to receive the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award in 1997. Former Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry presented the Governor's Arts Award to Franklin in 2004.

Franklin later passed on March 25, 2009, at the age of 94.

Today, Franklin's legacy lives on in the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation. It's a nonprofit organization that runs on Franklin's dreams: to transform the years of mistrust and bitterness caused by racial division and violence into reconciliation and cooperation for not only Tulsa but America as well.

The John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park was completed in Tulsa. Along with the center, works of documentaries, galleries, archives, and other artifacts of significant importance are housed in respect of Franklin's teachings and lifelong vision.

The John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation is located at 322 N Greenwood Ave and Reconciliation Park is located at 321 N. Detroit Ave. in Tulsa.

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