John Hope Franklin, the respected Duke University professor and historian of African-American experience, died of congestive heart failure on Wednesday, March 25. He was 94.

Franklin was part of the team of scholars to aid Thurgood Marshall in winning the Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. He was also known for his book “From Slavery to Freedom: A History of Negro Americans.”

President Obama issued this statement late Wednesday:

“Because of the life John Hope Franklin lived, the public service he rendered, and the scholarship that was the mark of his distinguished career, we all have a richer understanding of who we are as Americans and our journey as a people. Dr. Franklin will be deeply missed, but his legacy is one that will surely endure. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to his loved ones, as our nation mourns his loss.”

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See what John Hope Franklin had to say about President Obama’s election.