Historian Honored

John Hope Franklin's legacy made permanent in Tulsa


The influence of John Hope Franklin, the acclaimed late professor emeritus of history, remains strong after his death, and thanks to his hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and a foundation operating in his name, that is unlikely to change anytime soon.

The John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park, dedicated this fall in Tulsa, tells the stories of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot and the roles African Americans played in Oklahoma’s growth. The park, which took two years to construct, contains a towering monument on those themes by sculptor Ed Dwight.

Franklin grew up in Tulsa and witnessed the riot as a child. After graduating from high school, he was prohibited from attending the University of Oklahoma because of his race. He left the state for undergraduate studies at Fisk University and earned an M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Before coming to Duke, Franklin was a professor of history at Brooklyn College and the University of Chicago. In 1995, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

Learn more about the park and view a map of the location.

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