Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1943. First edition of the author’s first book, which was revised from his Harvard Ph.D. thesis. The present work demonstrates the reality of Black life in the antebellum South, where discriminatory laws harshly subjugated even the “free” Black population. Minor fading to cloth in a couple places. With the dust jacket (very good, with some toning to edges and a couple smudges). Contemporary ownership ink stamp to preliminary blank. A near fine copy of the uncommon first edition, particularly scarce in the original dust jacket. Publisher’s light blue cloth titled in gilt. Octavo. x, 271 pp. Item #17537
John Hope Franklin (1915 – 2009) was a scholar and activist who revolutionized the field of Black studies and made significant strides toward integration in schools, especially at the university level. While a professor at Howard University, Franklin published From Slavery to Freedom (1947), a survey of Black history that became the most commonly used text in the Black history courses of the 1960s and 70s. Franklin was also active in law and politics: in 1948, he testified as an expert witness in the lawsuit that integrated the University of Kentucky graduate school; five years later, he worked with Thurgood Marshall to prepare a brief for use in the Brown v. Board of Education re-arguments. In the mid-1960s, Franklin declined Lyndon B. Johnson’s request to serve as diplomat, but he did serve on the President’s Advisory Commission on Ambassadorial Appointments. In 1995, he was awarded the highest honor of the NAACP, the Spingarn Medal. In the same year, President Clinton awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor.