Thursday, March 26, 2009

Being John Hope Franklin

"We also learn that this country and the Western world have no monopoly of goodness and truth and scholarship, we begin to appreciate the ingredients that are indispensable to making a better world. In a life of learning that is, perhaps, the greatest lesson of all."

-- John Hope Franklin

Last year at the Dallas airport a distinguished elderly gentleman walked towards me with such spry that he captured my attention. I admired him immediately for the elegance of his gate, the pride in his step and the quickness of his pace.

As the gentleman came closer and closer, I recognized him as the great historian, John Hope Franklin. I did not say anything, but I smiled the biggest smile. He smiled back, nodding in the fashion of distinguished gentlemen of his era, as with hat in hand.

John Hope Franklin passed yesterday at the age of 94.

Today, I honor him.

8 comments:

Cynthia said...

A supreme loss. That generation,
that character of man is such an
assest to us all.

judith ellis said...

Indeed, Cynthia. Indeed. I shed a tear today when I found out that he was no longer with us. I have admired him since junior high school and seeing him last year was a blessing.

dave wheeler said...

What a tremendous tribute Judith! From a tremendously special person.

judith ellis said...

I loved this gentleman, Dave. When I saw him last year, I had no words. He did seem to understand well my smile.

Here is another quote:

"We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey."

judith ellis said...

Dave - I think you're pretty super too! Thanks for being you.

dave wheeler said...

Judith,

He obviously was special in many meaningful ways and that you were moved to observe his passing with such beautiful words has Mr. Franklin smiling as we speak!

judith ellis said...

Ah, thank you, Dave, for that!

wmmbb said...

I have to admit I had not heard of John Hope Franklin. I am really pleased that you exchanged smiles with him. I am sure he appreciated your response.