This Day in History

Jan. 2, 1915: John Hope Franklin Born

Time Periods: 1910
Themes: Reparations, African American, Education, Racism & Racial Identity

I think knowing one’s history leads one to act in a more enlightened fashion. I cannot imagine how knowing one’s history would not urge one to be an activist.

John Hope Franklin

John Hope Franklin in the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March. Source: New York Times

John Hope Franklin, one of the most important historians of the 20th century, was born ‪Jan. 2, 1915 in Rentiesville, Oklahoma. He was raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (His father Buck Colbert Franklin was a lawyer and is best known for defending African-American survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Massacre.)

Franklin is seen in the photo to the right with other U.S. historians in the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March.

Here is another quote from Franklin, on reparations in Indyweek,

People are running around apologizing for slavery. What about that awful period since slavery — Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and all the rest? And what about the enormous wealth that was built up by Black labor? If I was sitting on a billion dollars that someone had made when I sat on them, I probably would not be slow to apologize, if that’s all it takes. I think that’s little to pay for the gazillions that Black people built up — the wealth of this country — with their labor, and now you’re going to say I’m sorry I beat the hell out of you for all these years? That’s not enough.

Find lessons on Tulsa, reparations, and more below.