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John Hope Franklin’s From Slavery to Freedom: 60 Years of Making African American History

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Abstract:

2007 marked the 60th anniversary of the publication of John Hope Franklin’s From Slavery to Freedom. This book has been reprinted and updated eight times, and translated in over a dozen languages, which has given Franklin’s careful, detailed treatment of the African American experience an audience that stretches around the globe. During the latter half of the twentieth century, Dr. Franklin also emerged as a premier statesman. Among his many acts of service was his tenure as Chairman of President Clinton’s independent advisory board on race in America. Not since W.E.B. DuBois has a scholar of African American history made such a profound impact on both the historical profession and the wider public. The historical meaning and evolution of that dual impact, especially through his landmark publication, From Slavery to Freedom (FSTF) is the subject of this paper.
FSTF offers a unique window through which we can view the evolution of both the historical profession and US society. Written on the cusp of the modern civil rights movement, FSTF stands as a hallmark of how African American Studies, as an independent scholarly discipline, and African American history, as a field within the historical profession, have challenged and changed Americans’ approaches to understanding their past. This paper utilizes primary sources from the John Hope Franklin collection housed at the Duke University special collections archive and the Alfred Knopf papers housed at the University of Texas, Austin, to recount the narrative of how FSTF came into existence and how the book’s content has changed over time. In many ways, FSTF was a forerunner in “multicultural” discourses about the American past. Franklin democratized the standard narrative of United States history and, by inserting the African American past wholesale into the fabric of that narrative, he forever changed the ways Americans view the evolution of their democratic society.

Author's Keywords:

John Hope Franklin, historiography
Convention
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Association:
Name: 93rd Annual Convention
URL:
http://www.asalh.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p273381_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Purnell, Brian. "John Hope Franklin’s From Slavery to Freedom: 60 Years of Making African American History" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 93rd Annual Convention, Sheraton Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, Oct 01, 2008 <Not Available>. 2014-11-30 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p273381_index.html>

APA Citation:

Purnell, B. , 2008-10-01 "John Hope Franklin’s From Slavery to Freedom: 60 Years of Making African American History" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 93rd Annual Convention, Sheraton Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama <Not Available>. 2014-11-30 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p273381_index.html

Publication Type: Individual Paper
Abstract: 2007 marked the 60th anniversary of the publication of John Hope Franklin’s From Slavery to Freedom. This book has been reprinted and updated eight times, and translated in over a dozen languages, which has given Franklin’s careful, detailed treatment of the African American experience an audience that stretches around the globe. During the latter half of the twentieth century, Dr. Franklin also emerged as a premier statesman. Among his many acts of service was his tenure as Chairman of President Clinton’s independent advisory board on race in America. Not since W.E.B. DuBois has a scholar of African American history made such a profound impact on both the historical profession and the wider public. The historical meaning and evolution of that dual impact, especially through his landmark publication, From Slavery to Freedom (FSTF) is the subject of this paper.
FSTF offers a unique window through which we can view the evolution of both the historical profession and US society. Written on the cusp of the modern civil rights movement, FSTF stands as a hallmark of how African American Studies, as an independent scholarly discipline, and African American history, as a field within the historical profession, have challenged and changed Americans’ approaches to understanding their past. This paper utilizes primary sources from the John Hope Franklin collection housed at the Duke University special collections archive and the Alfred Knopf papers housed at the University of Texas, Austin, to recount the narrative of how FSTF came into existence and how the book’s content has changed over time. In many ways, FSTF was a forerunner in “multicultural” discourses about the American past. Franklin democratized the standard narrative of United States history and, by inserting the African American past wholesale into the fabric of that narrative, he forever changed the ways Americans view the evolution of their democratic society.


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In Hopes of Freedom -- African American Heroes of the American Revolutionary War Era

Elderly African Americans on Youthful Sassiness: A Long-Term Perspective on the Transition from Slavery to Freedom

Set at Full Liberty: Exhibiting Freedom and African American History in Colonial Connecticut


 
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