John Hope Franklin

“Nor could I fail to recall my friendship with Howard K. Beale, professor of American History at the University of North Carolina. There he was, one day in 1940, standing just outside my room in the men’s dormitory at St. Augustine’s, in his chesterfield topcoat, white silk scarf, and bowler hat, with his calling card in hand, perhaps looking for a silver tray in which to drop it. Paul Buck, whom he knew at Harvard, had told him to look me up. He wanted to invite me to his home in Chapel Hill to have lunch or dinner and to meet his family. From that point on we saw each other regularly.
After I moved to Durham, he invited me each year to give a lecture on “The Negro in American Social Thought” in one of his classes. One day when I was en route to Beale’s class, I encountered one of his colleagues, who greeted me and inquired where I was going. I returned the greeting and told him that I was going to Howard Beale’s class to give a lecture. After I began the lecture I noticed that Howard was called out of the class. He returned shortly, and I did not give it another thought. Some years later, after we both had left North Carolina, Howard told me that he had been called out to answer a long-distance phone call from a trustee of the university who had heard that a Negro was lecturing in his class. The trustee ordered Beale to remove me immediately. In recounting this story, Beale told me that he had said that he was not in the habit of letting trustees plan his courses, and he promptly hung up. Within a few years Howard accepted a professorship at the University of Wisconsin. A favorite comment from Chapel Hill was that upon his departure from North Carolina, blood pressures went down all over the state.”


John Hope Franklin, Mirror to America
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Mirror to America Mirror to America by John Hope Franklin
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