Monday, March 30, 2009

Film/Video, Acting & Writing Workshops - NYC

Yes, it's that time when the ice melts and similarly thoughts and creative energies start to unthaw, and one's mind turns to that project that's been nagging at the back of the brain. Or the one that's sitting on shelf somewhere, waiting for when there's more time...

Well, if you're in the NYC-area the time might be now since both Third World Newsreel (TWN) and The Frederick Douglass Creative Arts Center are starting their Spring workshops in filmmaking, acting, directing for the stage, and creative writing (including playwriting, writing for television, and screenwriting). It's a long listing, but dive won't know if you like it until you get a little wet! If after reading you're still hesitant, or holding your cash to pay for essentials, you can still read about the filmmaking side of things at The Independent (formerly the Independent Film & Video Monthly, published by the Association of Independent Video & Filmmakers).

Spring TWN Evening Workshops
"The Spring TWN Wednesday Night Workshops are starting on March 25th! Register now!"

Wednesday Night Workshop Series (But not always on Wednesdays!)
Walk-in seminars on production topics you need - from production management, podcasting and new media production, sound recording and new camera technology. All classes are $20 ($10 for low income) unless otherwise noted. The workshops take place at Third World Newsreel. Package rate available: $80 for all six sessions ($40 for low income). Register now

The Spring season starts March 25th with 2 Free Work-in-Progress screenings. The goals of the screenings are to solicit feedback and lively discussion with the filmmaker to help shape the films' direction before final cuts. Limited seating, so you must RSVP at by March 21. Screenings begin at 6:30 PM at the TWN office, 545 Eighth Avenue, 10th Floor.

Wednesday, March 25, 6:30 PM
Work-In-Progress Screening: White: A Study in Color by Joel Katz
Please join TWN Board member Joel Katz (director of Strange Fruit, 2002) for a documentary/essay about what it means to be white in America. Both a personal memoir and a sociological study, White: A Study in Color will put the notion of "post-racial" America under a critical lens. From the Obama ascendancy to the predictions of population demographers that by the year 2042 whites will become America's largest minority, the very notion of being white is ripe for scrutiny. Where has 'white' come from, and where is it going? FREE, Limited Seating, RSVP Req.

Wednesday, April 1, 6:30 PM
Work-In-Progress Screening: Changing Face of Harlem by Shawn Batey
TWN Production Workshop alumna, Shawn Batey presents a one-hour documentary that reviews development in Harlem over the last twenty years and ponders the future of the community. From the voices of residents, business owners, politicians, developers and clergy, this documentary reveals feelings of betrayal and hope, deferred dreams, and struggles of a neighborhood. The film illustrates how, in the years of the 1980s and 1990s, the New York City government along with non-profit faith based organizations saved and revamped the abandoned vacant housing stock that became synonymous with Harlem. FREE, Limited Seating, RSVP Req.

Wednesday, April 8, 6:30 PM
Sound Recording: Tips for better results, and a look at New Gear! With JT Takagi
One thing that a lot of indie projects suffer from: problematic sound. An intro to getting decent sound and a look at some of the most popular mixers, hard drive recorders and radio mikes, courtesy of Professional Sound Services. $20 ($10 for low income).

Tuesday, April 28, 6:30 PM
Guerilla Web 2.0 with Andreas Jackson
Do you have an intriguing message, product, or service but don't know where to start to connect to the global audience of the World Wide Web? Andreas Jackson, Director of On-Line and Business Development for the Hip-Hop Association presents a one-stop shop of social media and technology to create and disseminate a compelling campaign throughout the blogosphere. Topics including blogging, podcasting, RSS, e-mail blast, search engine optimization and more are discussed and demonstrated in an interactive environment. A must for filmmakers! $20 ($10 for low income).

Wednesday, May 6, 6:30 PM
Vision, Cinematography and the RED Camera with Arthur Jafa
You can get 35mm quality with this camera - at a fraction of the cost. Features like CHE have been shot with it. But, as always, it's not just the gear - it's your vision and concept that makes the difference. Jafa, cultural critic/worker and visual artist - is also a DP and filmmaker with credits ranging from Spike Lee's Crooklyn, to his and Julie Dash's Daughters of the Dust and Manthia Diawara's Rouch in Reverse. He'll show his RED, but also talk about envisioning the captured image. $20 ($10 for low income).

Wednesday, May 13th, 6:30 PM
Master Class with Thomas Allen Harris: Presenting His New Film and Multimedia Project Through The Lens Darkly
Thomas Allen Harris, the founder and President of Chimpanzee Productions, will discuss the evolution of his work and the new direction of his company into the realm of new media. Chimpanzee's innovative and award-winning films have received critical acclaim at International film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Toronto, FESPACO, Outfest, Flaherty and Cape Town and have been broadcast on PBS, the Sundance Channel, ARTE, as well as CBC, Swedish broadcasting Network and New Zealand Television.

To Be Scheduled:
Producing New Media with Ann Bennett
Production Planning and Budgeting
NYSCA Application with Don Palmer

All classes at:
Third World Newsreel
545 Eighth Avenue, 10th Flr
between 37th and 38th Streets
1, 2, 3, A, C, E to Times Square

Final Cut Pro and DVD Studio Pro Workshop - 6 week course on Saturday Afternoons - Class begins in mid April
Learn to edit through examining films, exploring media literacy principles - and learning Final Cut Pro and DVD Studio Pro, in a 6 week course on Saturday afternoons from 1-3 PM. The class costs $300 and pre-registration is required. Register today! Deadline is March 31st. Email:

All editing classes on Saturdays at 1 PM at:
Third World Newsreel
545 Eighth Avenue, 10th Flr
between 37th and 38th Streets
1, 2, 3, A, C, E to Times Square

The Frederick Douglass Creative Arts Center
"Spring is here with an Open Houses, Readings and Workshops. Hoping you can join us! As part of our Open House, we will be hosting aCelebration of the Life and Work of Ihsan Bracy. A short bio for Ihsan is at the bottom of this e-mail."

Saturday, April 4th, 2009
From 12:30 to 2:30, Celebration of the Life and Work of Ihsan Bracy
From 3:00 to 6:00pm Open House for Spring Workshop Cycle
Spring '09 Open House
An opportunity to learn more about the 8-week workshops and classes being offered this Spring beginning the week of April 13th and meet some of the instructors.
more info at
Wednesday, April 15th
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Free Staged Reading of Prodigal Blood By Jaymes Jorsling at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture located at 135th Street and Malcolm X Boulevard.

More Info at
Monday, April 11
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Writing and Re-Writing the Novel
Led by the award winning author Grace Edwards
An emphasis in this class on those who have already their first draft but also open to those looking to get started. Sponsored in part by NYSCA/ Literature Grant.

Monday, April 13
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Advanced Acting Workshop
Led by the award winning director/co-founder of the Classical Theatre of Harlem
Alfred Preisser. Monologue, scene study, and audition technique. Includes play and character analysis, and uses of improvisation and theatre games to explore character and encourage creative freedom.This workshop is sponsored in part by funding from NYSCA/Special Arts Services.

Monday, April 13
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Writing for Daytime Television
Sojourna Collier
A workshop for those interested in drafting a daytime television pilot or with an interest in learning to write for that field. This workshop is made possible in part by support from NYSCA/Electronic Media and Film.

Monday, April 13
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Advanced Playwriting
Leslie Lee
A workshop directed to those who have at least begun the first draft of their play or have a good idea of what they want to write and have finished a draft of a play previously. This class is supported in part by funding from NYSCA/Special Arts Services.

Tuesday, April 14
7:00 - 9:00 pm
Creative Writing
Prize-Winning author and editor and also former FDCAC student, Ms. Thomas takes the class through a selection of writing exercises that include the short story and non-fiction essays, with an eye to assisting in the process of selecting the style of writing most appropriate for the individual students goals. This workshop is sponsored in part by support from NYSCA/Literature.

Tuesday, April 14
7:00 - 9:00 pm
Short Story
Nathasha Brooks-Harris
A workshop involved in not only writing and polishing your short stories, but also in offering guidance in where and how to get your stories published. This workshop is sponsored in part by support from NYSCA/Literature.

Tuesday, April 14
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Shakespeare Performance Workshop
Led by the award winning director/co-founder of the Classical Theatre of Harlem
Alfred Preisser. An intensive class dealing with Shakespearean text from the actor's viewpoint. Introduction to scansion and script analysis, the style and form of Elizabethan Theatre, and in-depth scene and monologue work.This workshop is sponsored in part by funding from NYSCA/Special Arts Services.

Tuesday, April 14
7:00 - 9:00 pm
Childrens Books
Laura Pegram
This fiction workshop AND craft class includes a close reading of excerpts from diverse voices within the genre (e.g., Angela Johnson, Cristina Garcia, Sherman Alexie, Christopher Paul Curtis, Karen Hesse, etc.), as well as a structured written commentary. Emerging writers at all levels will learn to develop their craft and the language of critique during this intensive workshop. This workshop is sponsored in part by support from NYSCA/Literature.

Tuesday, April 14
7:00 - 9:00 pm
Acting Jacqueline Wade
A workshop for all levels of actors. Sponsored in part by support from NYSCA/Special Arts Services.

Tuesday, April 14 (tentatively scheduled)
7:00 pm - 9:00pm
Fusion Film Writing
Alan Zatkow
In this workshop for which the Screen 1 workshop is a prerequisite, the class will work on reworking their film scripts, and get an understanding of how the industry works. This workshop is made possible in part by support from NYSCA/Electronic Media and Film.

Wednesday, April 15
7:00 - 9:00 pm
Jacqueline Johnson
A workshop devoted to the structure and creation of the poem with insight on where and how to get published. Made possible in part by support from NYSCA/Literature.

Wednesday, April 15
7:00 pm - 9:00pm
Alan Zatkow
In this workshop the class will begin the first draft of their screenplay getting feedback from both the class and the instructor with insights into what to do once the screenplay is completed. This workshop is made possible in part by support from NYSCA/Electronic Media and Film.

Wednesday, April 15
7:00 pm - 9:00pm
Beginning Playwriting
Sophia Romma
In this workshop the class will begin the first draft of their play getting feedback from both the class and the instructor. There will also be discussions of individual goals for the completed works. Sponsored in part by support from NYSCA/Special Arts Services.

Wednesday, April 15
7:00 pm - 9:00pm
Literary Non-Fiction/Memoir
Michel Marriott
In this workshop the class will explore all forms of non-fiction writing, including journalism. Sponsored in part by support from NYSCA/Literature.

Wednesday, April 15
7:00 pm - 9:00pm
Beginning your Novel
Jaira Placide
In this workshop the class will begin the process of taking that idea for a novel and transfer it onto the page. Sponsored in part by support from NYSCA/Literature.

Thursday, April 16
6:00 pm - 8:00pm
Led by the award winning director/co-founder of the Classical Theatre of Harlem
Alfred Preisser. An introduction to the role of the director in creating work for the stage. Covers choice and analysis of play, working with the actor to shape a performance, use of physical elements (scenic, costume, music) to strengthen interpretation and expression of the "director's voice". Sponsored in part by support from NYSCA/Special Arts Services.

Thursday, April 16
7:00 pm - 9:00pm
Advanced Screenwriting
Myla Churchill
In this workshop the class will edit their screenplay, getting feedback from both the class and the instructor with insights into what to do to improve their work. Sponsored in part by support from NYSCA/Special Arts Services.

Thursday, April 16
7:00 pm - 9:00pm
Crafting the Novel-From Concept to Publication by Donna Hill
This class is for those who have a story concept or draft of their novel and those who wish to flesh out their novel in progress. Made possible in part by support from NYSCA/Literature.

Frederick Douglass Creative Arts Center
270 West 96th Street
New York, NY 10025
Fax 212-864-3474
Web Site:

About ihsan bracy
Paths of Sanctuary is author Ihsan Bracy's second work of fiction with Cool Grove Press (Feb. 2008). His first book Ibo Landing: an offering of short stories, (CGP 1998) is scheduled to be work-shopped by NYU in preparation for an upcoming Broadway run by The Mirror Repertory Company where Ihsan is the Arts and Education Coordinator. As artistic Director and Founder of The Tribe Ensemble, a multi-ethnic theatre repertory company based out of the Jamaica Arts Center for thirteen years, Ihsan authored and directed Against the Sun, the Southampton Slave Revolt of 1831. A former member of The Family (La Familia) Inc., his credits include prolonged theatre workshops at Bayview Correctional Facility for Women, the Spofford Home for Juveniles and Riker's Island, which culminated in a forty prison inner city tour. Ihsan directed Juan Shamsul Alam's Benpires which received a Pulitzer Prize nomination in theatre.

A graduate of Bennington College, Ihsan Bracy was former member of the New York State Council on the Arts and former chair of the Theatre Department of Talent Unlimited High School, NYC's second largest performing arts high school. Ihsan's major educational credits include directing five Manhattan, three NYC and a third place National Shakespeare Championship as well as an ARTS National Finalist in Theatre. As a Brooklyn based spoken word artist, Ihsan performed all across the city including a long running appearance at The Triad as part of composer Michael Raye's Soul Gathering. Author of two volumes of poetry, cadre and the ubangi files, Ihsan has twice been a CAPS Finalist and has been elected to the New Renaissance Writer's Guild.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Coming Up...Jazz Fest & Odetta Tribute

You know summer is around the corner when the month-long Jazz Festivals start occurring. Do jazz and summer go together? Well, probably no more than the idea of music, fun, and hot nights going together. So here comes the Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium's 10th Annual Jazz Festival April 1 - 30, 2009.

CBJC's 10th jubilee celebration of an American original art form will feature: Opening Day Free Community Concert (April 1st), jazz drum legend Roy Haynes (April 4th), Brooklyn Jazz Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Dave Valentin (April 16th), Houston Person (April 17th), Jazz: The Women's View Point (April 18th), Melba Moore (April 18th), Ronnie Mathews/Freddie Hubbard Tribute (April 19th), Jazz & The Fine Arts concert, BAMcafe Live weekend (April 24/25), Youth Jazz Jamboree/Wellness Day (April 25th), educational symposiums, programming for senior citizens and individuals with development disabilities, jazz performances, and conferences in churches, restaurants, clubs, and cultural institutions throughout Brooklyn.
A note: I don't see Melba Moore on the festival calendar on 4/18, a featuring "Jazz: The Women's View Point Panel Discussion & Performance with Ntozake Shange, Mickey Davidson, Akua Dixon, Carline Ray, and Camile Yarborough. However, I do see The Melba Joyce Quartet on 4/24, so I don't know if that's a typo or what.

The name "Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium" does beg the question of if there's also a non-Central Brooklyn Jazz organization with a competing festival--well, it's Brooklyn, home of a lot of musicians and other artist. So yes, there's the six year old Brooklyn Jazz Festival
(formerly Williamsburg Jazz Festival) and the Brooklyn Jazz Underground which also has a two-year old festival. What's notable about these other two festivals is their emphasis on featuring both work by younger artists and work that pushes the boundaries of jazz, as well as their ethnic make-up. There is a greater European and European American presence in both organizations and as well as in their festivals, particularly in the membership of the Brooklyn Jazz Underground. Generational and multi-national and multi-ethnic tensions are a part of the history of jazz, although that wasn't always the case. Still it's no surprise to see these elements evidenced and/or responded to in the ethos of various organizations. Arguably, no one organization should have to bear the responsibility for defining what jazz is--past, present or future--since the history of what gets/got counted as jazz and who gets/got counted as jazz musicians is so complicated anyway.

Odetta Tribute: Princeton University, Thursday April 9, 2009
Perhaps not the most obvious locale for an Odetta tribute, but the way was paved with the James Brown Symposium in 2007. Plus Princeton is becoming a hotbed of performance studies scholars. Filmmaker Ela Troyano was just there with her "documentary bolero" on the phenomenal La Lupe: Queen of Latin Soul, hosted by Alex Vazquez, performance studies scholar, new faculty in English and Oh! Industry blog founder/contributor. Dr. Judith Casselberry, cultural anthropologist and currently a visiting scholar at the institution, also is a long-time member of Toshi Reagon's band Big Lovely. (Odetta Memorial image by Stephen Alcorn ©2008)

This Odetta event is a two-parter, with an afternoon symposium and an evening concert featuring Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, Sonia Sanchez, Lizz Wright and Toshi Reagon, among others. Tickets to the concert are free, but you have to get them in advance, and I'm not sure they're going to be available online. You may have to bribe a New Jersey friend or relative to go over to the Princeton, New Jersey campus and get them. Here's the info:

APRIL 9, 2009

4:30pm • McCosh Hall 10 • Panel Discussion

“Odetta, Folk Music, and Social Activism”

• Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon • Professor Matthew Frye Jacobson • Mr. Oscar Brand • Ms. Olivia Greer • Professor Albert J. Raboteau • Dr. Judith Casselberry • Moderatored by Professor Judith Weisenfeld

8:30pm • Richardson Auditorium • Concert*

• Professor Matt Frye Jacobson • Geoffrey Holder • Lizz Wright • Ruby Dee • Guy Davis • Sonia Sanchez • Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon • Toshi Reagon

*Tickets are complimentary and required for admission to the concert.

Ticket Availability:
• General Public
Frist Campus Center Ticket Office
Available: Friday, March 27
Limit of two tickets per person.

Doors open at 8:00pm for ticket holders. Open admission at 8:20pm for any remaining seats.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

R.I.P. John Hope Franklin

John Hope Franklin, Scholar of African-American History, Is Dead at 94 [1915 -2009]

Published: March 25, 2009
[from NYT ]

John Hope Franklin, a prolific scholar of African-American history who profoundly influenced thinking about slavery and Reconstruction while helping to further the civil rights struggle, died Wednesday in Durham, N.C. He was 94.

A spokeswoman for Duke University, where Dr. Franklin taught, said he died of congestive heart failure at the university’s hospital.

During a career of scholarship, teaching and advocacy that spanned more than70 years, Dr. Franklin was deeply involved in the painful debates that helped reshape America’s racial identity, working with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., W. E. B. Du Bois, Thurgood Marshall and other major civil rights figures of the 20th century.

“I will always think of John Hope as the historian of the South who grasped the complexity of Southern public life as shaped by the horror of personal slavery,” said Nell Irvin Painter, the Princeton University historian. “Franklin was the first great American historian to reckon the price owed in violence, autocracy and militarism.”

It was a theme Dr. Franklin wrestled with into his last years. In an article in The Atlantic Monthly in 2007, he wrote, “If the American idea was to fight every war from the beginning of colonization to the middle of the 20th century with Jim Crow armed forces, in the belief that this would promote the American idea of justice and equality, then the American idea was an
unmitigated disaster and a denial of the very principles that this country claimed as its rightful heritage.”

Dr. Franklin combined idealism with rigorous research, producing such classic works as “From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African-Americans,” first published in 1947. Considered one of the definitive historical surveys of the American black experience, it has sold more than three million copies and has been translated into Japanese, German, French, Chinese and other

Robert W. Fogel, a Nobel Prize-winning economist at the University of Chicago, called it “a landmark in the interpretation of American civilization.”

Dr. Franklin also taught at some of the nation’s leading institutions, including Harvard and the University of Chicago in addition to Duke, and as a scholar he personally broke several racial barriers.

He often argued that historians have an important role in shaping policy, a position he put into practice when he worked with Marshall’s team of lawyers in their effort to strike down segregation in the landmark 1954 case Brown v. Board of Education, which outlawed the doctrine of “separate but equal” in the nation’s public schools.

“Using the findings of the historians,” Dr. Franklin recalled in a 1974 lecture, “the lawyers argued that the history of segregation laws reveals that their main purpose was to organize the community upon the basis of a superior white and an inferior Negro caste.”

Dr. Franklin also participated in the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., with Dr. King.

“One might argue that the historian is the conscience of the nation, if honesty and consistency are factors that nurture the conscience,” Dr. Franklin said. Still, he warned, if scholars engage in advocacy as well as scholarship they must “make it clear which activity they are engaging in at
any given time.”

President Bill Clinton, in awarding him the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 1995, said Dr. Franklin had never confused “his role as an advocate with his role as a scholar,” adding that he had held “to the conviction that integration is a national necessity.”

Yet even on so august an occasion, Dr. Franklin could not escape the legacy of discrimination. In a talk he gave in North Carolina 10 years later, he recalled that on the evening before he received the medal at the White House, a woman at a Washington club asked him to fetch her coat, mistaking him for an attendant, and that a man at his hotel had handed him car keys and told him to get his car.

Dr. Franklin’s prestige led Mr. Clinton to select him in 1997 to head the Advisory Board to the President’s Initiative on Race, which was formed to promote dialogue about the country’s race problems.

The panel, however, drew criticism. White supremacists protested at some of its forums, and at others American Indians and other minorities complained that they were being left out of the process. A group of conservative scholars repudiated the panel and formed their own.

And when Dr. Franklin’s group finally issued its report after 15 months, the document was criticized as, in one disillusioned scholar’s words, “a list of platitudes.”

The controversy did little to dim Dr. Franklin’s standing as a groundbreaking historian, however. He was the first African-American president of the American Historical Association; the first black department chairman at a predominantly white institution, Brooklyn College; the first black professor to hold an endowed chair at Duke; the first black chairman of the University of Chicago’s history department; and the first African-American to present a paper at the segregated Southern Historical Association, one of many groups that later elected him its president.

John Hope Franklin was born on Jan. 2, 1915, in Rentiesville, Okla., the son of Buck Colbert Franklin, a lawyer, and Molly Parker Franklin, an elementary school teacher. His parents had moved to Rentiesville, an all-black town, after his father was not allowed to practice law in

In the 1920s, the family moved to Tulsa, and at age 11 he was taken to hear the great civil rights leader W. E. B. Du Bois, with whom Dr. Franklin later became friends.

His youth was marked by frequent brushes with racism. He was forced off an all-white train and made to sit in a segregated section of the Tulsa opera house. He watched black neighborhoods of Tulsa — including the one where his father had his office — being burned during the infamous 1921 race riot, and he was barred from admission to the University of Oklahoma.

Instead, Dr. Franklin attended historically black Fisk University in Nashville, receiving his B.A. in 1935. There he met Aurelia E. Whittington, who would become his wife, and sometime editor, of almost 60 years. They had one son, John Whittington Franklin, who survives him. Mrs. Franklin died in 1999.

In 1997, Dr. Franklin and his son edited an autobiography of his father, Buck Franklin. The book told the tale of free blacks in the Southwestern Indian territories in the late 1800s. Buck Franklin’s father, a former slave owned by Indians, became a cowboy and rancher, while Buck, who taught himself law by mail, was an advocate of black pride and nonviolence.

Before graduating from Fisk, Dr. Franklin considered following his father into law but was persuaded by a white professor, Ted Currier, to make history his field. Professor Currier was said to have borrowed $500 to help Dr. Franklin pursue graduate studies at Harvard. There, Dr. Franklin later recalled, he felt the isolation of being one of only a handful of blacks on campus. He received his master’s degree in 1936 and his Ph.D. in 1941.

Two years later he published his first book, “The Free Negro in North Carolina, 1790-1860,” which explored slaveholders’ hatred and fear of the quarter-million free blacks in the antebellum South. Almost 20 other books followed, either written or edited by Dr. Franklin.

In “The Militant South, 1800-1861” (1956), he described Southern whites’ “martial spirit” and “will to fight,” which he said gave the pre-Civil-War South its reputation for violence. He approvingly quoted Tocqueville’s observation that, because of slavery, “the citizen of the Southern states becomes a sort of domestic dictator from infancy.”

In “Reconstruction After the Civil War” (1961), he wrote that the end of Reconstruction reforms left “the South more than ever attached to the values and outlook that had shaped its history.” He lamented that “in the postwar years, the Union had not made the achievements of the war a foundation for the healthy advancement of the political, social and economic life” of the nation.

“The Emancipation Proclamation” (1963), written a century after the proclamation was issued, examined how it evolved in Lincoln’s mind and its impact on the Civil War and later generations. Dr. Franklin concluded hopefully, “Perhaps in its second century, it would give real meaning and purpose to the Declaration of Independence.”

And in “The Color Line: Legacy for the 21st Century” (1993) he argued that race would remain America’s great problem in the 21st century.

Despite his acute awareness of the South’s troubled racial history, Dr. Franklin was often angrier about Northern racism and frequently defended his adopted home state, North Carolina.

His major biographical project was a 1985 study of George Washington Williams, a self-educated black Civil War veteran and author of a 1,000-page 1882 history of blacks in America from 1619 to 1880. He said he spent nearly 40 years of intermittent research on the project, calling Williams “one of the small heroes of the world.”

Dr. Franklin’s first passion was teaching, and he continued to log classroom time despite his increasing prominence. His teaching career began at Fisk in 1936 and continued over the next 20 years at St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh, N.C., North Carolina College in Durham and Howard University in Washington.

As his first books drew national notice, Dr. Franklin left the world of historically black colleges and went to Brooklyn College, where from 1956 to 1964 he served as chairman of what had been an all-white department.

“Having John Hope Franklin at Brooklyn College in the 1960’s was like having a real star in our midst,” said Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, who was a student of Dr. Franklin’s. “Students who were lucky enough to get into his class bragged about him from morning until night.”

Dr. Franklin later taught at the University of Chicago before returning to North Carolina in 1982 to teach at Duke and at the Duke Law School.

Dr. Franklin was also a Fulbright professor in Australia and had teaching stints in China and Zimbabwe. He taught at Cambridge University in England; Harvard; Cornell; the University of Wisconsin; the University of Hawaii; the University of California, Berkeley; and other institutions. Since 1992, he had been James B. Duke professor emeritus of history at Duke. A John Hope Franklin Research Center was established in his honor at Duke.

At his home in Durham, Dr. Franklin continued a lifelong hobby of cultivating hundreds of orchids; one species was named for him, the Phalaenopsis John Hope Franklin.

His honors, awards, and professional and civic affiliations were so numerous as to fill several single-spaced pages of a long curriculum vitae. He received more than 100 honorary degrees.

In 2006, he received the John W. Kluge Prize for the Study of Humanities in a ceremony at the Library of Congress. In his prepared remarks he said he had long struggled “to understand how it is that we could seek a land of freedom for the people of Europe and, at the very same time, establish a social and economic system that enslaved people who happen not to be from Europe.”

“I have struggled to understand,” he went on, “how it is that we could fight for independence and, at the very same time, use that newly won independence to enslave many who had joined in the fight for independence.

“As a student of history, I have attempted to explain it historically, but that explanation has not been all that satisfactory. That has left me no alternative but to use my knowledge of history, and whatever other knowledge and skills I have, to present the case for change in keeping with the
express purpose of attaining the promised goals of equality for all peoples.”