Scholars Honored John Hope Franklin





The Harvard University scholar chosen to coauthor the latest revision of John Hope Franklin's seminal text, "From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans," told an audience of educators gathered to honor the former chair of the Brooklyn College history department (the first black scholar to head a history department at a predominantly white U.S. college) that there will be much new material in the ninth edition of his work when it is published in January.

Delivering the keynote address at the John Hope Franklin Memorial Conference on Tuesday, Nov. 17, Professor Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham said she had rewritten Franklin's text extensively in the current eighth edition, changed chapter headings and added many new subjects, including sections on the early history of African slaves in Spanish Florida; the experience of black women through the centuries; the development of blues and jazz and the black artists and musicians who gravitated to Paris during the 1920s and '30s; as well as a number of more recent topics, such as the civil rights movement, the rise of black power, hip-hop culture and other matters.

"The questions we bring to the past arise from the concerns we have for the present," she said.

Higginbotham, the Victor S. Thomas Professor of History and of African and African-American Studies (and a noted scholar and author in her own right) said that, in 2006, Franklin had asked her to act as coauthor and editor for the upcoming revision of his 60-year-old textbook. She said that she was able to show him the first 15 revised chapters before his death earlier this year and that he had approved them.


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