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History’s Destined Future

John Hope Franklin

“When I was 4 years-old, my mother told me that I could be the first Black President of the United States. I should have told Barack that.”

Both of his parents were college graduates. A teacher by profession, his mother brought a then two-year-old John Hope Franklin to the one-room school where she taught in Rentiesville, Oklahoma. She sat him in the back of the room with only a pencil and paper as his babysitters. Day after day, his mother would educate the many grade students left in her care while John occupied himself with the utensils left responsible for his own care taking. One day his mother decided to take a look at John’s paper. Not only had that pencil and paper kept John quiet, it had served as a depository for what he was learning. At two, he was able to read write and do the homework his mother had been administering to the other children.

It’s interesting to notice when the path a person’s life will take is made apparent at such a young age.

We at MobileBooth West had the pleasure to receive a visit from famed historian John Hope Franklin and his son, John W. Franklin. Now 98 years-old John has taught and been awarded the world over. Both of these gentlemen have been integral to the collection and documentation of an unprecedented and varied amount of Black History including our own Griot Initiative. It has been our honor to work with them outside of the booth. And I was truly inspired by the bit of that amazing history they shared inside.

Here’s to many more stories.


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2 Responses to “History’s Destined Future”

To preserve the StoryCorps mission and experience for our readers and participants, comments are subject to the StoryCorps Terms of Service. Comments may be held for moderation or removed if deemed offensive or off-topic. Please do not resubmit your comment if you don't see it right away, it will be approved as soon as possible. Thank you.

  • Thank you Carl for posting this and sharing with us All!

    Comment from Florencia Turco on December 16, 2008 at 10:45 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • Thank you for sharing this with us. Three generations of great Black men!

    Comment from Nzingha Garner on December 16, 2008 at 5:42 pm - Reply to this Comment

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