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Portrait of Dr. Franklin.

Meet Dr. John Hope Franklin

Dr. John Hope Franklin, renowned historian and Medal of Freedom recipient, chaired the Advisory Board for the 1997 President’s Initiative on Race, set up to launch "a great and unprecedented conversation about race" across the United States.

Read a biography of Dr. John Hope Franklin.

Archbishop Tutu on John Hope Franklin:

"He's been, in many ways, like an African elder, a repository of wisdom, of tradition, and just a solid good sense, and a remarkable sense of humanness. And it's been wonderful being here with him. It's just one of the very great privileges. See, God has an incredible sense of humor. You know? I mean, really. Because, you know, I have sometimes said to people: If God had asked me--Desmond, how would you like to end your life? I could never have dreamt up anything like what God brought up."

"I was there for the release of Nelson Mandela. I was there for our election. I was there for his inauguration. As if that were not enough, I am there, now, for the process of trying to heal our country, and walking into the sun, sunset, or riding into the sunset, I can have the incredible privilege of meeting up with such outstanding people as John Hope Franklin."
"It's an incredible privilege, and, and, and going around, and, and, and meeting people, and, and, and seeing people -- I think they like me."

The following is an excerpt from a conversation between Dr. Franklin and Archbishop Tutu on the importance of memory.

ARCHBISHOP TUTU: We need to do all we can to help our children appropriate their history, appropriate the memory.

DR. FRANKLIN: One of the problems in the United States, today, is the refusal, on the part of our young people--


DR. FRANKLIN: --to, to remember--


DR. FRANKLIN: --or to want to remember, or to recognize the experiences of the past as being relevant,--

DR. FRANKLIN: --germane, important--


DR. FRANKLIN: --to the present and to the future. They simply don't want anything that's painful. They want to live in a painless society, a, a--where everything is pleasant, and everything is joyful, and the unfortunate thing about is--about that is that insisting on that, they're also insisting on a world of unreality, a world that doesn't exist, that didn't, didn't exist.

Read the complete transcripts of Dr. Franklin’s and Archbishop Tutu’s conversations on Goree.

For more on Dr. Franklin:

Dr. Franklin’s 1997 NewsHour interview:


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