State News

Bill Clinton to speak at Duke event for Franklin

Posted June 3, 2009 7:06 p.m. EDT
Updated June 3, 2009 7:45 p.m. EDT

— Former President Bill Clinton is coming to North Carolina to speak at an event honoring the late historian John Hope Franklin and his wife, Aurelia.

Duke University said Wednesday that the campus will host an event next week to celebrate the Franklins. Clinton and civil rights leader Vernon Jordan will be among the featured speakers.

During his presidency, Clinton awarded Franklin the Presidential Medal of Freedom and later appointed Franklin in 1997 to chair a national task force on race. Franklin died in March at the age of 94. His wife died in 1999.

Franklin authored the 1947 book "From Slavery to Freedom," which was a landmark publication that helped integrate black history with American history.

Per his wishes, there was no funeral or memorial service for Franklin following his death. Instead, his family planned a celebration of his and his wife’s lives on what would have been their 69th wedding anniversary.