Mirror to America by John Hope Franklin
The Autobiography of John Hope Franklin

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Synopsis

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.

 

About John Hope Franklin

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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.
 
Published April 15, 2007 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 416 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Mirror to America

Kirkus Reviews

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Says Franklin: “During my life it has been necessary to work not only as hard as my energies would permit, but to do it as regularly and as consistently as humanly possible.” An important work by an eyewitness to the events of the 20th century.

Sep 01 2005 | Read Full Review of Mirror to America: The Autobi...

Publishers Weekly

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Franklin's steady, unwavering voice, touched with a taste of gravel and the slightest Southern drawl, anchors his reading of his autobiography, which takes him from an impoverished childhood to a Harvard Ph.D.

Jan 02 2006 | Read Full Review of Mirror to America: The Autobi...

Deseret News

In spite of such experiences, Franklin fell in love with history at Harvard University, then taught at several other schools, his career culminating in his appointment at Howard University in Washington, D.C., the country's foremost black university.

Jan 01 2006 | Read Full Review of Mirror to America: The Autobi...

The New York Review of Books

Two years later, after engaging in extensive research in archives and then writing up his findings while also teaching at a black college in North Carolina, Franklin scheduled his final examination in May 1941.

Jan 12 2006 | Read Full Review of Mirror to America: The Autobi...

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