Published: March 25, 2009
John Hope Franklin, a prolific scholar of African-American history who profoundly influenced thinking about slavery and Reconstruction while helping to further the civil rights struggle, died Wednesday in Durham, N.C. He was 94.
March 25, 2009    

Derek Anderson for The New York Times

John Hope Franklin at home in Durham, N.C., in 2006.


John Hope Franklin: Scholar and Witness (March 29, 2009)

Times Topics: John Hope Franklin

March 26, 2009    

Peter Foley/European Pressphoto Agency

Speaking on race in 2005, with former President Bill Clinton.



A spokeswoman for Duke University, where Dr. Franklin taught, said he died of congestive heart failure at the university’s hospital.
During a career of scholarship, teaching and advocacy that spanned more than 70 years, Dr. Franklin was deeply involved in the painful debates that helped reshape America’s racial identity, working with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., W. E. B. Du Bois, Thurgood Marshall and other major civil rights figures of the 20th century.
“I will always think of John Hope as the historian of the South who grasped the complexity of Southern public life as shaped by the horror of personal slavery,” said Nell Irvin Painter, the Princeton University historian. “Franklin was the first great American historian to reckon the price owed in violence, autocracy and militarism.”
It was a theme Dr. Franklin wrestled with into his last years. In an article in The Atlantic Monthly in 2007, he wrote, “If the American idea was to fight every war from the beginning of colonization to the middle of the 20th century with Jim Crow armed forces, in the belief that this would promote the American idea of justice and equality, then the American idea was an unmitigated disaster and a denial of the very principles that this country claimed as its rightful heritage.”
Dr. Franklin combined idealism with rigorous research, producing such classic works as “From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African-Americans,” first published in 1947. Considered one of the definitive historical surveys of the American black experience, it has sold more than three million copies and has been translated into Japanese, German, French, Chinese and other languages.
Robert W. Fogel, a Nobel Prize-winning economist at the University of Chicago, called it “a landmark in the interpretation of American civilization.”
Dr. Franklin also taught at some of the nation’s leading institutions, including Harvard and the University of Chicago in addition to Duke, and as a scholar he personally broke several racial barriers.
He often argued that historians have an important role in shaping policy, a position he put into practice when he worked with Marshall’s team of lawyers in their effort to strike down segregation in the landmark 1954 case Brown v. Board of Education, which outlawed the doctrine of “separate but equal” in the nation’s public schools.
“Using the findings of the historians,” Dr. Franklin recalled in a 1974 lecture, “the lawyers argued that the history of segregation laws reveals that their main purpose was to organize the community upon the basis of a superior white and an inferior Negro caste.”
Dr. Franklin also participated in the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., with Dr. King.
“One might argue that the historian is the conscience of the nation, if honesty and consistency are factors that nurture the conscience,” Dr. Franklin said. Still, he warned, if scholars engage in advocacy as well as scholarship they must “make it clear which activity they are engaging in at any given time.”
President Bill Clinton, in awarding him the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 1995, said Dr. Franklin had never confused “his role as an advocate with his role as a scholar,” adding that he had held “to the conviction that integration is a national necessity.”
Yet even on so august an occasion, Dr. Franklin could not escape the legacy of discrimination. In a talk he gave in North Carolina 10 years later, he recalled that on the evening before he received the medal at the White House, a woman at a Washington club asked him to fetch her coat, mistaking him for an attendant, and that a man at his hotel had handed him car keys and told him to get his car.
Dr. Franklin’s prestige led Mr. Clinton to select him in 1997 to head the Advisory Board to the President’s Initiative on Race, which was formed to promote dialogue about the country’s race problems.
The panel, however, drew criticism. White supremacists protested at some of its forums, and at others American Indians and other minorities complained that they were being left out of the process. A group of conservative scholars repudiated the panel and formed their own.
And when Dr. Franklin’s group finally issued its report after 15 months, the document was criticized as, in one disillusioned scholar’s words, “a list of platitudes.”
The controversy did little to dim Dr. Franklin’s standing as a groundbreaking historian, however. He was the first African-American president of the American Historical Association; the first black department chairman at a predominantly white institution, Brooklyn College; the first black professor to hold an endowed chair at Duke; the first black chairman of the University of Chicago’s history department; and the first African-American to present a paper at the segregated Southern Historical Association, one of many groups that later elected him its president.


John Hope Franklin: Scholar and Witness (March 29, 2009)

Times Topics: John Hope Franklin

John Hope Franklin was born on Jan. 2, 1915, in Rentiesville, Okla., the son of Buck Colbert Franklin, a lawyer, and Molly Parker Franklin, an elementary school teacher. His parents had moved to Rentiesville, an all-black town, after his father was not allowed to practice law in Louisiana.
In the 1920s, the family moved to Tulsa, and at age 11 he was taken to hear the great civil rights leader W. E. B. Du Bois, with whom Dr. Franklin later became friends.
His youth was marked by frequent brushes with racism. He was forced off an all-white train and made to sit in a segregated section of the Tulsa opera house. He watched black neighborhoods of Tulsa — including the one where his father had his office — being burned during the infamous 1921 race riot, and he was barred from admission to the University of Oklahoma.
Instead, Dr. Franklin attended historically black Fisk University in Nashville, receiving his B.A. in 1935. There he met Aurelia E. Whittington, who would become his wife, and sometime editor, of almost 60 years. They had one son, John Whittington Franklin, who survives him. Mrs. Franklin died in 1999.
In 1997, Dr. Franklin and his son edited an autobiography of his father, Buck Franklin. The book told the tale of free blacks in the Southwestern Indian territories in the late 1800s. Buck Franklin’s father, a former slave owned by Indians, became a cowboy and rancher, while Buck, who taught himself law by mail, was an advocate of black pride and nonviolence.
Before graduating from Fisk, Dr. Franklin considered following his father into law but was persuaded by a white professor, Ted Currier, to make history his field. Professor Currier was said to have borrowed $500 to help Dr. Franklin pursue graduate studies at Harvard. There, Dr. Franklin later recalled, he felt the isolation of being one of only a handful of blacks on campus. He received his master’s degree in 1936 and his Ph.D. in 1941.
Two years later he published his first book, “The Free Negro in North Carolina, 1790-1860,” which explored slaveholders’ hatred and fear of the quarter-million free blacks in the antebellum South. Almost 20 other books followed, either written or edited by Dr. Franklin.
In “The Militant South, 1800-1861” (1956), he described Southern whites’ “martial spirit” and “will to fight,” which he said gave the pre-Civil-War South its reputation for violence. He approvingly quoted Tocqueville’s observation that, because of slavery, “the citizen of the Southern states becomes a sort of domestic dictator from infancy.”
In “Reconstruction After the Civil War” (1961), he wrote that the end of Reconstruction reforms left “the South more than ever attached to the values and outlook that had shaped its history.” He lamented that “in the postwar years, the Union had not made the achievements of the war a foundation for the healthy advancement of the political, social and economic life” of the nation.
“The Emancipation Proclamation” (1963), written a century after the proclamation was issued, examined how it evolved in Lincoln’s mind and its impact on the Civil War and later generations. Dr. Franklin concluded hopefully, “Perhaps in its second century, it would give real meaning and purpose to the Declaration of Independence.”
And in “The Color Line: Legacy for the 21st Century” (1993) he argued that race would remain America’s great problem in the 21st century.
Despite his acute awareness of the South’s troubled racial history, Dr. Franklin was often angrier about Northern racism and frequently defended his adopted home state, North Carolina.
His major biographical project was a 1985 study of George Washington Williams, a self-educated black Civil War veteran and author of a 1,000-page 1882 history of blacks in America from 1619 to 1880. He said he spent nearly 40 years of intermittent research on the project, calling Williams “one of the small heroes of the world.”
Dr. Franklin’s first passion was teaching, and he continued to log classroom time despite his increasing prominence. His teaching career began at Fisk in 1936 and continued over the next 20 years at St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh, N.C., North Carolina College in Durham and Howard University in Washington.
As his first books drew national notice, Dr. Franklin left the world of historically black colleges and went to Brooklyn College, where from 1956 to 1964 he served as chairman of what had been an all-white department.

“Having John Hope Franklin at Brooklyn College in the 1960’s was like having a real star in our midst,” said Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, who was a student of Dr. Franklin’s. “Students who were lucky enough to get into his class bragged about him from morning until night.”
Dr. Franklin later taught at the University of Chicago before returning to North Carolina in 1982 to teach at Duke and at the Duke Law School.
Dr. Franklin was also a Fulbright professor in Australia and had teaching stints in China and Zimbabwe. He taught at Cambridge University in England; Harvard; Cornell; the University of Wisconsin; the University of Hawaii; the University of California, Berkeley; and other institutions. Since 1992, he had been James B. Duke professor emeritus of history at Duke. A John Hope Franklin Research Center was established in his honor at Duke.
At his home in Durham, Dr. Franklin continued a lifelong hobby of cultivating hundreds of orchids; one species was named for him, the Phalaenopsis John Hope Franklin.
His honors, awards, and professional and civic affiliations were so numerous as to fill several single-spaced pages of a long curriculum vitae. He received more than 100 honorary degrees.
In 2006, he received the John W. Kluge Prize for the Study of Humanities in a ceremony at the Library of Congress. In his prepared remarks he said he had long struggled “to understand how it is that we could seek a land of freedom for the people of Europe and, at the very same time, establish a social and economic system that enslaved people who happen not to be from Europe.”
“I have struggled to understand,” he went on, “how it is that we could fight for independence and, at the very same time, use that newly won independence to enslave many who had joined in the fight for independence.
“As a student of history, I have attempted to explain it historically, but that explanation has not been all that satisfactory. That has left me no alternative but to use my knowledge of history, and whatever other knowledge and skills I have, to present the case for change in keeping with the express purpose of attaining the promised goals of equality for all peoples.”
SOURCE:  The New York Times:
A prolific author, a towering giant in the field of race relations, and a man of profound foresight. Dr. Franklin’s contributions, and his insight, are still relevant well into the 21ST Century.
Rest in peace, Dr. Frankiln.
Rest in peace.
Artisan Entertainment, via Associated Press

The drummer Uriel Jones, center, with bandmate James Jamerson in 1964.



Published: March 25, 2009
Uriel Jones, a drummer with the Funk Brothers, the studio musicians at Motown Records who played without credit on virtually every hit during that label’s heyday in the 1960s, died on Tuesday in Dearborn, Mich. He was 74.
The cause was complications of a recent heart attack, his sister-in-law Leslie Coleman said.
Drawn from the ranks of Detroit jazz players by Berry Gordy Jr., the founder of Motown, the Funk Brothers were the label’s regular studio backup band from 1959 to 1972, when Motown moved to Los Angeles and left most of them behind.
The players appeared on songs by Marvin Gaye, the Supremes, the Temptations, Martha and the Vandellas and many others, and “Standing in the Shadows of Motown,” a 2002 documentary, opens with the claim that they “played on more No. 1 records than the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones, Elvis and the Beatles combined.” Yet the group remained largely unknown until that film’s release.
The band’s main drummer was the formidable Benny Benjamin, but as he became sidelined by drug addiction, Mr. Jones and another player, Richard Allen, known as Pistol, gradually took over drumming duties. Mr. Benjamin died of a stroke in 1969, and Mr. Allen died in 2002, shortly before the release of the film.
Mr. Jones joined the Funk Brothers around 1963 after touring with Marvin Gaye, and plays on Gaye’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” the Temptations’ “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” the Miracles’ “Tracks of My Tears,” Jimmy Ruffin’s “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted,” and Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” among many other songs.
Born in Detroit, Mr. Jones began playing music in high school. But his first instrument was the trombone, said his wife, June. She survives him, along with three children, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
“He wanted to box also,” Ms. Jones said in a telephone interview on Wednesday. “When he went to band classes his lip was swollen and he couldn’t play the trombone, so he had to switch to the drums.”
Mr. Jones remained in Detroit after Motown left, and continued to play in local clubs with other Funk Brothers alumni, including Earl Van Dyke, the keyboardist, who died in 1992.
After “Standing in the Shadows of Motown,” Mr. Jones toured widely with other surviving Funk Brothers.
In interviews later, he said he regretted being underpaid, but held no grudges against Motown.
“We know now that we didn’t get the money that we was supposed to,” he told The Call and Post, a Cleveland newspaper, in 2002, “but the way I look at it is, ‘What would my life had been like without Motown?’ I’d rather it had been with Motown.”
SOURCE:  The New York Times:
Published: March 26, 2009
Dan Seals, who performed as England Dan in the folk-pop duo England Dan and John Ford Coley and later returned to his roots as a country singer and songwriter, died Wednesday at his daughter’s home in Nashville. He was 61.
Lois Raimondo/Associated Press, 1995

Dan Seals


The cause was complications of the treatment of mantle cell lymphoma, said Tony Gottlieb, his friend and manager.
Mr. Seals’s first widespread success as a performer came with the smooth-voiced harmonies of England Dan and John Ford Coley. Their first single, “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight,” reached No. 2 on the pop charts in 1976. The duo had eight more light-rock hits over the next four years, including “Nights Are Forever Without You,” which also reached the Top 10 in 1976.
Mr. Seals enjoyed even greater acclaim in the country field, where he had 11 No. 1 singles from 1985 to 1990. His 1985 hit “Bop,” which crossed over to the pop chart, won the Country Music Association’s award for Single of the Year in 1986. “Meet Me in Montana,” a duet with Marie Osmond, also won honors at the Country Music Association Awards that year.
In the video for his 1989 single “They Rage On,” Mr. Seals, whose Bahai faith taught tolerance and unity, addressed prejudice by depicting an interracial relationship.
As a member, with Mr. Coley, of the Dallas group Southwest F.O.B., Mr. Seals had a minor hit with “The Smell of Incense” in 1968. He sang and played saxophone in the band. His nickname, England, was given to him by his brother Jim.
Danny Wayland Seals was born Feb. 8, 1948, in McCamey, Tex. His father, an amateur guitarist who performed with Bob Wills and Ernest Tubb, worked as a pipeliner in the oil fields of West Texas. Mr. Seals’s older brother, Jim Seals, played in fiddle championships as a child and later had several pop hits as part of the 1970s duo Seals & Crofts.
At his death, Dan and Jim Seals were working on an album, which they planned to release sometime this year.
In addition to his brother Jim, Mr. Seals is survived by his mother, Sue Taylor of Wolfe City, Tex.; his wife, Andrea, known as Andi; their daughter, Holley May Lizarrga of Nashville; their son, Jesse, of Whites Creek, Tenn.; and seven grandchildren. Mr. Seals is also survived by two sons from a previous marriage, Jimmy, of Hendersonville, Tenn., and Jeremy, of Clarksville, Tenn.
SOURCE:  The New York Times:
Such beautiful and gentle music that Mr. Seals made with Mr.  Coley. Not mentioned in the news article is one song that Dan and John sung:  “Love is the Answer.” I feel this song is very underappreciated and underrated. It is one of the best songs sung By England Dan and John Ford Coley.
Rest in peace, Mr. Dan Seals.
Rest in peace.
Love is the Answer

Name your price
A ticket to Paradise
I can’t stay here any more
And I’ve looked high and low
I’ve been from shore to shore to shore
If there’s a short cut I’d have found it
But there’s no easy way around it

Light of the world, shine on me
Love is the answer
Shine on us all, set us free
Love is the answer

Who knows why
Someday we all must die
We’re all homeless boys and girls
And we are never heard
It’s such a lonely world
People turn their heads and walk on by
Tell me, is it worth just another try?

Light of the world, shine on me
Love is the answer
Shine on us all, set us free
Love is the answer

Tell me, are we alive, or just a dying planet?
What are the chances?

Ask the man in your heart for the answers

And when you feel afraid, love one another
When you’ve lost your way,
love one another
When you’re all alone, love one another When you’re far from home, love

one another And when you’re down and out, love one another All your hope’s run out,
love one another And when you need a friend,
love one another
When you’re near the end,
love one another
We got to love one another

Light of the world, shine on me
Love is the answer
Shine on us all, set us free
Love is the answer

Light of the world, shine on me
Love is the answer
Shine on us all, set us free
Love is the answer

Light of the world, shine
Light of the world

Shine on me
shine on me
shine shine shine shine on me
shine shine shine shine…..

Published: March 24, 2009
Eddie Bo, an exuberant New Orleans pianist and singer who wrote for and worked with artists like Irma Thomas, Etta James and Art Neville of the Neville Brothers, and whose song “I’m Wise” became one of Little Richard’s biggest hits, as “Slippin’ and Slidin’,” died last Wednesday. He was 79 and lived in New Orleans.
Jack Vartoogian/Frontrowphotos

Eddie Bo performing in 2006.


Eddie Bo at JazzAscona 2008 (

The cause was a heart attack, said Karen Hamilton, his booking agent.
Mr. Bo, a rhythm-and-blues belter and florid barrelhouse pianist, came of age when New Orleans street music, based on marching band traditions, was being translated into a distinctive local rhythm and blues style. He flourished as a songwriter and performer, making the transition to funk in the early 1970s.
“He had a very percussive sound, more jazzy than Professor Longhair,” said John Broven, the author of “Rhythm and Blues in New Orleans.” “He was always at the forefront of trends, right back to the Little Richard days and into the funk era, when he released some really revolutionary records.”
Edwin Joseph Bocage was born in New Orleans and reared in Algiers, La., and in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans. After serving overseas in the Army, he studied composition and arranging at the Grunewald School of Music in New Orleans and developed a New Orleans piano style with a jazzy inflection influenced by Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson.
Reviewing Mr. Bo in performance at Tramps Cafe in New York in 1993 for The New York Times, Jon Pareles called him a one-man orchestra: “His left hand trundles out steady-rolling bass lines, meshed with chords or splashed with barrelhouse triplets from his right; he stamps his feet in one more layer of rhythm.”
In the early 1950’s Mr. Bo toured with the singers Joe Turner, Lloyd Price, Ruth Brown and Earl King before establishing a career as a songwriter and performer, recording for independent labels like Apollo, Ric and Rip. His best-known record was “Check Mr. Popeye,” a dance tune released in 1961, which included the tag line “You’d better check that spinach, Olive’s in the danger zone.” He also produced records by Irma Thomas, Johnny Adams and Tommy Ridgley.
His song “My Dearest Darling” was recorded by Etta James in 1960, and Mr. Bo himself released more than 50 singles, including “Hook and Sling,” which reached No. 13 on Billboard’s R&B chart in 1969. He is also credited as one of the writers of Oliver Morgan’s signature song, “Who Shot the LaLa.”
In 1970 Mr. Bo recorded the seminal funk songs “The Rubber Band” and “Check Your Bucket,” but in 1975 he dropped out of the music scene. After studying for a time at the Yahweh Institute in Miami, he returned to New Orleans in the late 1980s. In recent years he appeared regularly at the annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, toured extensively abroad and recorded albums on his Bo-Sound label, including “Nine Yards of Funk” (1998) and “Saints, Let’s Go Marching On In” (2007).
SOURCE:  The New York Times:
Copyright 2009 Houston Chronicle

March 28, 2009, 7:40PM

Family photo
A philanthropist, Jeanette Epstein Oshman gave money to Baylor College of Medicine and other Medical Center institutions.
Jeanette Epstein Oshman, who helped the family business become one of the nation’s leading sporting goods retailers, died at home Wednesday. She was 98.

Oshman, who immigrated to the U.S. from Poland with her family as a young girl, took over as chairman of the Oshman’s Sporting Goods chain following the death of her husband, Jake, in 1965. Although she gave control of day-to-day operations to her son-in-law, Alan Lubetkin, she became chairman of the board and oversaw the enterprise as it began to expand to more than 200 stores.


Oshman viewed the business very much as a family affair, with a daughter and granddaughter eventually assuming important roles. She was a presence in the Houston stores and had long-standing friendships with many of the company’s employees that continued well after she stepped away from active involvement, her family said.


“It was an act of courage,” daughter Marilyn Oshman said of her mother’s dive into the business world. “She had no experience in running a retail business. But she had very good business sense, and she had a very good way with people. She gave people who worked with us confidence that we were going to run it well, and we had good leadership. And that happened. We went from seven stores to 220 stores.”


As Marilyn Oshman became involved in the business, eventually succeeding her as board chairman, Jeanette Oshman began a second career in real estate. She bought parcels of raw land, mostly in north Houston, and took pleasure in her investment acumen. She put together groups of investors to make some of the real estate purchases, her daughter said, but she was never the passive partner.


Her daughter described her as a strong, sharp-tongued, determined woman with high expectations for her children. She had a passion for card games, cooking and reading. She transformed herself into a savvy businesswoman with the same sort of discipline she showed as a young woman when she had a doughnut and coffee every day for lunch for two years so she could save enough money to buy her parents a car.


“I think of my mother as a phenomenon,” Marilyn Oshman said. “It wouldn’t be proper to call her a Renaissance woman, but she had a life that just kept going and going. In many ways she lived the American dream. She worked her way through it with great joy and pride.”


Jeanette Oshman was heavily involved in philanthropy. She gave substantial sums to Baylor College of Medicine and other institutions in the Texas Medical Center, and she also helped people individually.


“She helped put people through school and gave and loaned them money,” Marilyn Oshman said. “She was amazingly generous.”


Jeanette Oshman in survived by her daughters, Marilyn Oshman and Judy Margolis; four grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her first husband, Jake; her second husband, Meyer Efron; and a son, Martin Lee Oshman. Services were held Friday.


SOURCE:  The Houston Chronicle:

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s