Mirror to America: The Autobiography of John Hope Franklin

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Macmillan, Nov 2, 2005 - Biography & Autobiography - 401 pages
19 Reviews
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 bestseller, From Slavery to Freedom. 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 subjected to racism’s denigration of his humanity. 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; and 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 of Education 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 toward humanity and equality, a life long effort that earned him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 1995. Intimate, at times revelatory, Mirror to America chronicles Franklin’s life and this nation’s racial transformation in the twentieth century, and is a powerful reminder of the extent to which the problem of America remains the problem of color.
  

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Review: Mirror to America

User Review  - Bob Schmitz - Goodreads

What a powerful book. I listen to the author, age 90, read this book. I knew that he lived in Durham, NC, my home, and thought that he was an African American Studies person of some sort but I did not ... Read full review

Review: Mirror to America

User Review  - Gina - Goodreads

"It is the function of the historian to keep before the people...the different lines of action they have taken, the several, often complicated reasons for such action...and to point to the defects and ... Read full review

Contents

No Crystal Stair
5
From Rentiesville to TTown
23
The Gold and Blue
39
s Fair Harvard
73
Newly Minted
90
Days of Infamy
103
From Slavery to Freedom ivi
122
A Hilltop High
138
Students RightsCivil Rights 136
236
Town and Gown and Beyond 149
249
Family Matters 159
259
n Reaching a Larger American Public 167
267
Winding DownSomewhat 178
278
14 A Whole New Life
293
xf A Duke Affair
307
Matters of Life and Death
318

Legacies 151
153
A Change of Venue 164
164
On Becoming New Yorkers 174
174
14 Way Down Under 184
184
15 Glimpses of the Motherland
190
Hail Britannia
202
Points West
212
The Uses of History
223
Honorable Mention
329
One America 341
343
A Conversation Stalled
357
In Sickness and in Health 365
365
Through a Looking Glass
373
Index
383
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

John Hope Franklin is James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of History at Duke University. He has received dozens of major awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his life-long commitment to Civil Rights.

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