Franklin, John Hope (1915-2009), a United States historian and educator, considered by scholars to be the foremost authority on the history of black Americans. He wrote several books about the role of black Americans in the development of the United States, including From Slavery to Freedom (1947). Franklin was also part of a team that assisted Thurgood Marshall, the chief lawyer of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), win Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954). As a result of the case, the Supreme Court of the United States declared racial segregation in public schools to be unconstitutional.
Franklin was born on January 2, 1915, in Rentiesville, Oklahoma. He graduated from Fisk University in 1935 and received an M.A. (1936) and a Ph.D. (1941) from Harvard. He began teaching in 1936, at Fisk. He taught at the University of Chicago, 196482, becoming the first black chairman of its history department. He taught at Duke University, 198292. Franklin died on March 25, 2009. His other books include The Emancipation Proclamation (1963), Race in History (1990), and the autobiography Mirror to America (2005).