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John Hope Franklin was a celebrated and pioneering historian specializing in Southern and African American history. The papers document his entire career as well as his personal life and political interests: his prolific writings on African American and Southern history; his role as a mentor and colleague; his role in associations such as Phi Beta Kappa, the American Historical Association, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, and others; his participation in the civil rights movement, including his work with the NAACP Legal and Educational Defense Fund, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and Justice Thurgood Marshall; and his engagement with numerous civic, community, and educational organizations such as the Board of Foreign Scholarships and Fisk University's Board of Trustees. There is also a significant amount of material from Franklin's work on President Clinton's Advisory Board for the President's Initiative on Race in 1997 and 1998. Items in the collection include files of correspondence in original order; research sources and notes; writings by and about Franklin; materials relating to family history; papers and diaries of other family members, including his father, and wife, Aurelia; printed material; event folders; many informal and publicity photographs; video and sound recordings; and awards and other memorabilia. Acquired as part of the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture at Duke University.

The John Hope Franklin papers document the whole of Franklin's professional career as a historian, as well as his personal life, early student years, and political interests. Collection materials include correspondence, research materials assembled by Franklin, writings by and about Franklin, drafts of writings, materials relating to family history, printed material, notebooks, information and multimedia packets, clippings, photographs, video and sound recordings, as well as a few artifacts. The collection was acquired as part of the John Hope Franklin Center for African and African American History and Culture.

The Academics series chronicles Franklin's career as a professor of history. It includes materials documenting his role as a mentor and advisor to numerous undergraduate and graduate students, his lecture notes and other classroom materials, and his administrative and committee work at various institutions, including Brooklyn College, University of Chicago, and Duke University. Portions of this series are restricted.

The series on the Advisory Board for the President's Initiative on Race contains items Franklin gathered during his work on President Clinton's race initiative, "One America in the 21st Century." The bulk of the series dates from the year-long work of the Advisory Board, from 1997 to 1998, and primarily comprises items sent to the Board for consideration in its work, meeting materials, publicity, and scholarly materials.

The videos and sound recordings in the Audiovisual series were created or assembled by John Hope Franklin. The series has been arranged into three subseries: ABPIR Materials, Recordings of Franklin, and Recordings of Others. Originals in the Audiovisual Materials Series are closed to use. Use copies are available for some items. Please contact Research Services staff in advance before coming to use this series.

The Correspondence series is one of the largest series in the collection, and comprises personal and professional correspondence received and sent by Franklin throughout his adult life.

The Engagements series includes invitations, correspondence, programs, and itineraries related to Franklin's participation in scholarly, civic, and social events. These materials have been arranged chronologically.

Franklin's Honors and Awards series includes certificates and diplomas, as well as logistical and administrative documentation for many of the awards ceremonies. The series is divided into Honorary Degrees and General Awards, both sorted in chronological order.

The Personal and Family Materials series contains the earliest items in the collection, with materials from Franklin's parents and grandparents. It includes files documenting Franklin's life and interests outside of his scholarship and public service. Materials are arranged by family member, with Franklin's wife, Aurelia, and his father, Buck Colbert Franklin, heavily represented. Also contains papers related to Theodore Currier, Franklin's mentor; John Hope eventually served as an executor of his estate.

The Research, Biographical, and Subject Files series contains newspaper clippings, subject files, travel guides, and photocopies of Franklin's FBI file. Also contains publicity and newspaper coverage of Franklin's many interviews and public appearances throughout the twentieth century.

The large Service series includes files acquired through Franklin's government, professional, and community service with various organizations and projects. Materials range from the early 1950s through the 2000s and are arranged alphabetically by organization or project name.

Franklin's prolific writing career is documented in the Writings series, which includes materials on his many books, articles, speeches, book reviews, essays, interviews, and other works, many unpublished. A portion of this series is restricted; please contact the Rubenstein Library for more information.

The Writings by Others series documents the ongoing relationship Franklin had with other authors and historians. It includes correspondence, drafts, and printed materials. Files are arranged alphabetically by author.

Finally, the Courtland Cox papers is a series of manuscripts belonging to Cox, a civil rights activist, collected by Franklin as supporting materials for a research project. The Rubenstein Library also holds a separate collection of Cox papers chiefly relating to his work with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

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The Robert A. Hill Collection covers the period of 1800 to 2014 and documents Hill's research, writing, and publications about Marcus Garvey's life and work and the founding of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), as well as Hill's many other projects. Items in the collection include research material assembled by Hill, writings by and about Garvey, manuscripts, correspondence, printed material, clippings, microfilm, photographs, video and sound recordings, and objects. Series 1-4 contain the production papers of the Marcus Garvey Papers Project: American Volumes (AM), African Volumes (AF), Caribbean Volumes (CA), and Project Administration (PA). Hill's other projects and writings are included in Series 5-6 as Other Works by Robert A. Hill (OW) and Hill Personal (HP). The remaining Series 7-10 consists of Microfilm (MF), Primary Sources (PS), Research (RE), and the unprocessed Jamaica (J). The collection was acquired by the John Hope Franklin Research Center in 2015.

The major emphasis of the Hill Collection is The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers, a series of publications that Hill edited for over thirty years that compile more than 30,000 documents highlighting the influence and accomplishments of Garvey and the UNIA. The process of compiling the twelve volumes is reflected in Hill's collection of research materials from manuscripts, photocopies of microfilm and original sources, newspaper clippings, annotated printed materials, photographs, scholar's correspondence, FBI records, and annotated drafts from U.S. and international archives, universities, and libraries. The bulk of the research materials are reproductions. Original materials can be found in the Primary Sources (PS) series.

The Other Works series contains Hill's personal papers, university-related materials and correspondence, general research, presentations, and other writings. These documents include Hill's historical editions such as Marcus Garvey's The Black Man: A Monthly Magazine of Negro Thought and Opinion; Cyril V. Briggs' The Crusader; George S. Schuyler's Black Empire and Ethiopian Stories; and The FBI's RACON: Racial Conditions in the United States during World War II.

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Dr. Samuel DuBois Cook (1928-2017) was a political scientist who became Duke University's first African American professor in 1966. He also served as president of Dillard University from 1975 to 1997. The Samuel DuBois Cook Papers contains Cook's speech files, drafts and copies of Cook's writings, and other assorted papers including correspondence and subject folders for his research and writings on Benjamin Elijah Mays. Acquired as part of the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture.

The Samuel DuBois Cook Papers contains Cook's speech files, drafts and copies of Cook's writings, and other assorted papers including correspondence and subject folders for his research and writings on Benjamin Elijah Mays. The correspondence is scattered but dates as early as 1949 and includes some exchanges between Cook and Duke University contacts and administration, written during his tenure as professor in the political science department. Later correspondence discusses Dillard University administration, as well as other personal and professional exchanges. Cook's research on Benjamin E. Mays includes files from his editing of the volume "Benjamin E. Mays: His Life, Contribution, and Legacy," published in 2009, as well as other drafts and files collected by Cook about Mays' writings and philosophy. Cook's other writings include drafts compiled for his Ford Foundation appointment researching desegregation and racism in the 1970s; writings and essays about Reinhold Niebuhr, Martin Luther King Jr., and historically black colleges; and his reflections on black power and the strategies of the civil rights movement. The bulk of the collection consists of Cook's speeches, filed into Dillard University and Professional Speeches subseries and arranged alphabetically by topic or title of the speech. Many of these are administrative, including many introductions of various Dillard speakers or other remarks delivered by Cook as Dillard University president.