A lifelong activist who spoke truth to power, President Bill Clinton awarded Dr. Franklin the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.
Because of the life John Hope Franklin lived, the public service he rendered, and the scholarship that was the mark of his distinguished career, we all have a richer understanding of who we are as Americans and our journey as a people. Dr. Franklin will be deeply missed, but his legacy is one that will surely endure. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to his loved ones, as our nation mourns his loss.
Rep. Barbara Lee, chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said:
For many African Americans our first introduction to black history was through Dr. Franklin’s book “From Slavery to Freedom.” In its pages we found an account of American history that affirmed the dignity of black people and the nobility of our struggle.
Dr. Franklin was not only a noted historian, but also living history himself. His accomplishments are as many as they are great. One of Dr. Franklin’s earliest and most important contributions was as a member of the team of scholars who worked with Thurgood Marshall to win the landmark school desegregation case Brown v. Board of Education.
Today we greatly mourn Dr. Franklin’s passing and the loss of his wise counsel, but we will be forever grateful for his lasting contributions.
Dr. Franklin was one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit to get reparations for the survivors of the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, during which his father's law office was burned down by a white mob.
We who were blessed to stand in this giant’s shadow and to have felt his touch will continue to use his teachings, wisdom, warmth and strength to ensure that his efforts are forever appreciated. We will mourn but we will not be stopped.
I only knew Dr. Franklin through his work, but I did get a chance to meet him at a congressional hearing.
This breaks my heart. This hurts in ways I never imagined. John Hope Franklin was a giant and we will miss him in unimaginable ways. He was our Tulsa race riots hero and helped us bring national attention to this issue.
I’m still stunned that our young people know so little about the struggle and progress that opened doors for me and them today. Our work is never done.
There will be a celebration of Dr. Franklin's life and of his late wife Aurelia Franklin on June 11 in Duke Chapel. In the meantime, the family has asked that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the:
Aurelia W. and John Hope Franklin Endowed Scholarship Fund at Fisk University
c/o Office of Institutional Advancement
1000 17th Street North
Nashville, TN 37208
Dr. Franklin will be missed. May he rest in peace.