May 1, 2003 – Vol. 22 No. 15

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    Honoree Franklin to attend symposium on race in new century

    By William Harms
    News Office

    John Hope Franklin
    The contributions of famed historian John Hope Franklin will be celebrated at a forward-looking symposium titled “Race in the Making of American History: Perspectives at the Onset of a New Century,” Thursday, May 1 and Friday, May 2, in Ida Noyes Hall.

    Franklin, the John Matthews Manly Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in History, will join the events, which also will feature a plenary session with Cathy Cohen, Professor in Political Science and Director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture, and William Julius Wilson, a former University professor who currently teaches at Harvard University.

    “While at Chicago, Franklin carried out groundbreaking research on the history of African Americans and the American South,” said Kathleen Conzen, Chairwoman of the Department of History. “He also was determined that scholarship in these fields should not be isolated from the larger American historical experience or from the social science and humanities disciplines. Franklin cultivated in his students an abiding respect for documentary evidence and rigorous historical method.”

    A seminal scholar of African-American history, Franklin published From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans, widely considered the definitive work on the subject, in 1947. The book is in its eighth edition and has been translated into Indian, Japanese, German, French, Portuguese and Chinese. He also wrote Race and History: Selected Essays, 1938-1988 (1990), and The Color Line: Legacy for the Twenty-First Century (1993); and most recently, Franklin and his son edited My Life and an Era: The Autobiography of Buck Colbert Franklin, an autobiography of Franklin’s father.

    For his scholarship and service, Franklin received the 1995 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, and he also was appointed chairman of the President’s Initiative on Race in 1997.

    The Chicago symposium honoring Franklin will begin at 9 a.m. Thursday, May 1, with a series of graduate student presentations. The first session is titled, “Race and (Sub)urban History in the 20th Century,” followed at 10:30 a.m. with “Culture and the Boundaries of Race in Comparative Perspective.”

    Two student-led discussions will kick off the Friday, May 2 presentations followed by the plenary session of the symposium to be held from 2 to 5 p.m. and moderated by Cathy Cohen. The student discussions are “Race and the Public Sphere” and “Making Race in 19th-Century America.”

    The plenary session begins with the presentation of “Mexican Americans, Civil Rights and the Problem of the Color Line,” presented by Neil Foley, associate professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin, and will be followed by the presentation “The New Economy and Racial Inequality,” by William Julius Wilson, the Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser university professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

    At 4 p.m., Nayan Shah (Ph.D., ’95), associate professor of history at the University of California, San Diego, will lead a question-and-answer period with Hanna Rosen (Ph.D., ’99), assistant professor in the Program in American Culture and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan.

    Franklin was a faculty member in History from 1964 to 1982, and served as Chairman of History from 1967 to 1970. In 1982, he accepted an appointment at Duke University, where he now is the James B. Duke professor emeritus. In 2000, Duke University opened the John Hope Franklin Center for Interdisciplinary and International Studies in his honor.