The lecture was delivered on April 24 during the 1988 ACLS Annual Meeting in New York, NY.
From the lecture program:
John Hope Franklin is the James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of History and Professor of Legal History in the Law School at Duke University. He is a native of Oklahoma and a graduate of Fisk University. He received the A.M. and Ph.D. degrees in history from Harvard University. He has taught at a number of institutions, including Fisk University, North Carolina Central University, and Howard University. In 1956 he went to Brooklyn College as Chairman of the Department of History there; and in 1964 he joined the faculty of the University of Chicago, serving as Chairman of the Department of History from 1967 to 1970. He was the John Matthews Manly Distinguished Service Professor from 1969 to 1982, when he became Emeritus Professor there.
Professor Franklin has written a number of books, including The Emancipation Proclamation, The Militant South, The Free Negro in North Carolina, Reconstruction After the Civil War, and A Southern Odyssey: Travelers in the Antebellum North. Perhaps his best known book is From Slavery to Freedom: A History of Negro Americans, the sixth, and fortieth anniversary, edition of which appeared in September, 1987. His Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities for 1976 was published under the title of Racial Equality in America. His latest book, George Washington Williams: A Biography, which was published in 1985, received the Clarence L. Holte Literary Prize for that year. His current research deals with "Dissidents on the Plantation: Runaway Slaves."
Through the years he has been active in professional and educational organizations. For many years he has served on the editorial board of the Journal of Negro History. He has served as president of the following organizations: the American Studies Association (1967), the Southern Historical Association (1970), the United Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa (1973-76), the Organization of American Historians (1975), and the American Historical Association (1979).
President Bill Clinton awarded him the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, in 1995 and selected him to head the Advisory Board to the President's Initiative on Race in 1997. He has been the recipient of many other awards, among them the Jefferson Medal for 1984, awarded by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, and the Charles Frankel Prize in 1993, awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities for contributions to the humanities. In 1978 he was elected to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and was one of eight Americans cited by Who's Who in America for significant contributions to society. He has received honorary degrees from more than seventy colleges and universities.