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Publisher's Summary

John Hope Franklin lived through America's most defining twentieth-century transformation, the dismantling of legally-protected racial segregation. A renowned scholar, he has explored that transformation in its myriad aspects, notably in his 3.5 million-copy best seller, From Slavery to Freedom. And he was, and remains, an active participant. Born in 1915, he, like every other African American, could not help but participate: he was evicted from whites-only train cars, confined to segregated schools, threatened (once with lynching), and consistently met with racism's denigration of his humanity. And yet he managed to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard, become the first black historian to assume a full-professorship at a white institution, Brooklyn College, be appointed chair of the University of Chicago's history department and, later, John B. Duke Professor at Duke University. He has reshaped the way African American history is understood and taught and become one of the world's most celebrated historians, garnering over 130 honorary degrees. But Franklin's participation was much more fundamental than that.

From his effort in 1934 to hand President Franklin Roosevelt a petition calling for action in response to the Cordie Cheek lynching, to his 1997 appointment by President Clinton to head the President's Initiative on Race, and continuing to the present, Franklin has influenced with determination and dignity the nation's racial conscience. Whether aiding Thurgood Marshall's preparation for arguing Brown v. Board in 1954, marching to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965, or testifying against Robert Bork's nomination to the Supreme Court in 1987, Franklin has pushed the national conversation on race towards humanity and equality, a life-long effort that earned him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, in 1995.

©2005 John Hope Franklin; (P)2005 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC

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Love story about a history often misunderstood

The author shares his perspectives and insights into the formidable world of a racist society. Though he describes what many might think is a boot-strap life, Franklin recognizes the contributions of many to the successes of many. Details about family anchor this poignant account of a journey to distinction. Born an intellectual, Franklin recalls the road to scholarship and the discipline required to attain it. All throughout, race and racialized context is the silver lining in the backdrop that allows for reflection. This volume is respectful of the tensions that must have existed within the Talented Tenth but lovingly honest about its shortcomings. He recounts life with a list of historical giants whose work is the foundation upon which current activism should be based. He provides a blueprint of the house that social change is. Triumphant and lovely.

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Excellent Book

Everything about this book is excellent. I'm honored to have read it.

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