In the Christian Bible, there is a verse, describing a forerunner, which simply says “There was a man named John.” We have now learned that a man named John Hope Franklin, who has been a gift to the entire world, a forerunner in the struggle for freedom, has now slipped gracefully into the hands of God. We, who knew Dr. Franklin, referred to him with the greatest respect because of the truth he told about our history which continually gave us hope that if we own the past we could correct our tomorrows.
Dr Franklin never relented in telling the whole truth about our journey from slavery to freedom, the ugliness of racism and social exclusion, the power of his people who not only endured but also fought against it and the promise of a new day. By always telling the truth to America and the world about history, he seared our conscience in such a way that constantly made it uncomfortable to accept the status quo. He reminded us that we must do more than merely apologize for the pain of the past but we must make amends that are tangible and rooted in a commitment to change.
This man named John was a scholar and prophetic voice for the world. The longevity of his life is in some way symbolic of the lengths he went to tell the story of his people and to always inspire truth, love and hope. May he rest now in peace and may we live and move forward in the paths he has laid down.
-- For more information, contact Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, President, 919-394-8137; Mrs. Amina J. Turner, Executive Director, 919-682-4700.