John Hope Franklin

Class of
John Hope Franklin

John Hope Franklin

“My mother imbued us all with the idea that we should never do less than our best. People who do not use their talents, I cannot abide.”
Dr. John Hope Franklin, 1978


Oklahoma native John Hope Franklin graduated from high school in Tulsa and received degrees from Fisk University (1935) and Harvard (1936 and 1941) before he began his illustrious teaching career and life as one of America’s finest scholar-statesmen. He has served as a professor at Howard University as well as a visiting professor at numerous American and foreign universities, and was the Chairman of the Department of History at Brooklyn College in New York. He became the John Matthews Manly Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago (1969) and was a member of the Senate of Phi Beta Kappa (1973-1976) and president of the United Chapters of that honor society. He was an established horticulturist and a prolific author of such works as The Free Negro in North Carolina, 1790-1860 (1943), From Slavery to Freedom-A History of Negro America (1947), Time-Life Book’s Illustrated History of Black Americans (1970 and 1973), and Southern Odyssey: Travelers in the Antebellum North (1975). Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry presented the coveted Governor’s Arts Award to Dr. Franklin in 2004.

Fun fact

Dr. John Hope Franklin was selected by Oklahoma Today Magazine as one of the 50 most influential Oklahomans of the 20th Century.

Oklahoma connections

Franklin was born in Rentiesville, Oklahoma and moved to Tulsa at age 10.









Relevant Exhibits

Intellectual Changemakers: Celebrating Oklahoma's Visionaries

Intellectual Changemakers: Celebrating Oklahoma's Visionaries

This exhibit features seven inspiring Oklahomans that helped to reshape our understanding of the world and inspired peope to make changes.