Eminent historian John Hope Franklin, most recently affiliated with Duke University, died today at age 94. This pioneer, noted for his seminal American history textbook, From Slavery to Freedom, broke barriers throughout his life. Although he grew up in a fairly prosperous black community in Oklahoma, its residents still suffered discrimination. Throughout his life, Franklin lent his considerable analytical skills to helping bring down the intellectual infrastructure of racial discrimination.
Recently, Franklin remarked on the significance of the election of another barrier breaker, Barack Obama, as our 44th President. He was as surprised as the rest of us by this political development, in a good way.