Famous historian votes for president in Durham


Doctor John Hope Franklin, 93, joined more than $1 million early voters in N.C. The civil rights activist said he's taking advantage of a right he once fought to have.

Franklin, a historian, an author, a prestigious professor and a civil rights activist, arrived at a Durham polling site to place his vote.

Franklin, said he was honored to vote in this historical election and was candid in his decision to vote for the first African-American on a presidential ticket.

"Not only did he graduate from Harvard University, but he went back to work in his community," Franklin said.

A fellow Harvard Graduate, Franklin has written numerous books. His book, "From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African-Americans," shows hurdles of many African-Americans in the U.S. -- obstacles he said Senator Obama has overcome.

"I think the very fact that we have a person from a group of people that have been maligned, condemned and cursed for all their lives, this merely is symbolic of a new day in this country.," he said.

In a couple of months, Franklin will be 94 years old. He's been voting for more than 60 years, but it's the first time voters he's concerned about, wanting them to come back and make sure they vote again.

"I hope that this is just a beginning for these young people," Franklin said. "I hope that they will be voting every time, even when the choice might not be as exciting as it is today. They ought to vote."

"So many people see this [election] as a bright light in the ferment of this country," he also said.

A light he hopes remains lit even after the election.

"Even if Obama does not win this election, God knows I hope he does even if he doesn't win, it says to Americans that the doors are open to all of us and we are going to take advantage as we have never done before," Franklin said.

Franklin's history books are used in classroom across the country to teach students about African-Americans. Now, they will be revised to include the outcome of the presidential election.

Copyright © 2024 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.