Berkeley - Historian John Hope Franklin, a leading scholar in American history and race relations, will receive the highest award given out by the University of California, Berkeley, faculty.
Tomorrow (Saturday, June 22), the Duke University professor emeritus will be given the Clark Kerr Award for Distinguished Leadership in Higher Education. Established in 1968 to honor UC President Emeritus Clark Kerr, it is the top prize bestowed by the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate.
"John Hope Franklin is one of the great figures in the study of American history in the United States for the last half century," said UC Berkeley professor Harry Scheiber. "He has been the leading figure in the field of African American history, American race relations and Southern regional history in the United States."
Scheiber, a former chair of the campus's Academic Senate, will travel to Franklin's home in North Carolina tomorrow to personally present the 86-year-old with the award.
Franklin is perhaps best known for his 1947 book, now in its 8th edition, "From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans." It is widely considered to be the definitive work on the subject. He has authored roughly a dozen other books on race and history and has written countless scholarly articles.
Franklin was born in Oklahoma. He earned his bachelor's degree from Fisk University and his master's degree and Ph.D. from Harvard University. He has taught at numerous institutions including the University of Chicago, Howard and Fisk.
In 1954, Franklin served on the team that helped develop the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision ending legal segregation of black and white children in public schools. During the 1960s and 1970s, he served as president of numerous organizations including the American Historical Association, the United Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa and the American Studies Association.
In 1995, Franklin was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest award for civilians. In 1997, he chaired then-President Clinton's Initiative on Race.
The Clark Kerr Award, a medal, is given to an individual considered to have made an extraordinary contribution to the advancement of higher education. Since it was established in 1968, 35 individuals have received the award including Clark Kerr, Earl Warren and Nobel Laureate Glenn T. Seaborg.