Cover image for My life and an era : the autobiography of Buck Colbert Franklin
My life and an era : the autobiography of Buck Colbert Franklin
Franklin, Buck Colbert, 1879-1960.
Publication Information:
Baton Rouge : Louisiana State University Press, [1997]

Physical Description:
xxvi, 288 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
KF373.F745 A3 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Franklin (1879-1960) led an extraordinary life; from his youth in what was then Indian Territory to his practice of law in 20th-century Tulsa, he was witness to changes in politics, law and race relations which transformed the south-west. His autobiography presents a firsthand account of events.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Franklin's autobiography, coedited by his son (distinguished historian John Hope Franklin) and grandson (a Smithsonian Institute program officer), will complement works in a sizable African American history collection. Buck was born in 1879 in a tiny town that no longer exists, in the Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory. After a frontier childhood, he went east, to Nashville and Atlanta, for an education, then studied law by mail and passed the bar. But even black clients in the new state of Oklahoma weren't sure an African American attorney could win the verdicts they needed, and the Franklins were the wrong religion (Methodist) in a segregated town whose Baptist minister didn't approve of ecumenism. But Buck persevered and was admitted, at age 70, to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, a very gratifying (if largely honorific) accomplishment. My Life and an Era features observations on the 1921 Tulsa race riot, the Depression, Franklin's legal cases and Brown v. Board of Education, and the state of the nation before the author's death in 1960. --Mary Carroll

Library Journal Review

Historian Franklin (chair of Bill Clinton's Initiative of Race and Reconciliation advisory board and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom) has edited and assembled the autobiography of his late father, Buck Colbert Franklin (1879-1960), who "represented many layers of the human experience‘freedman and Native American, farmer and rancher, rural educator and urban professional." The elder Franklin meticulously reports the daily observances from his youth in the Indian Territory to his practice of law in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The kaleidoscope of approaches and life experiences reflect the many changes, cultural and political, that the indomitable Franklin witnessed throughout his lifetime. Buck Franklin's ability to understand the complex and appreciate the simple aspects of existence mesmerizes the reader and brings the realities of slavery, poverty, and racial tensions to us in a firsthand account. The anecdotal details in another's hand might become tiresome, but Franklin's account holds one's attention and strongly communicates the honor and stalwartness of his family. For public and academic libraries.‘Kay Meredith Dusheck, Animosa, Iowa (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Autobiography plays a crucial role in illuminating the African American experience, and this book is a fascinating addition to the genre. Buck Colbert Franklin was a lawyer and father of famed historian John Hope Franklin. The book spans the years 1879-1960 and chronicles the transition of Oklahoma from Indian Territory to statehood (1907). The author's father had been the slave of a Chickasaw Indian family, while his mother was one-fourth Choctaw. When the Federal Government forcibly "relocated" the Cherokees, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Creeks, and Seminoles (the "Five Civilized Tribes") to the Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) between 1830 and 1840, their African American slaves were taken with them. Franklin describes the impact of the Dawes Severalty Commission, whose effect was to pry loose the communally held lands of Native Americans and transfer them into the hands of individual owners. However, the discovery of oil became an invitation to cheat Native Americans and African Americans of their land through trickery and deceit. Franklin chronicles the rise of Jim Crow segregation in Oklahoma, the infamous grandfather clause in voting, the horrific race riot in Tulsa in 1921, and early civil rights efforts. All levels. W. Glasker Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Camden