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John Hope Franklin Young Scholars Unveil New Exhibit in Durham

Opening at the History Hub on Main Street Dec. 10

The Durham History Hub will present a new "Our Bull City" exhibit developed by local middle schoolers in Duke's John Hope Franklin Young Scholars Program on Tuesday, Dec. 10.

Located downtown at 500 West Main Street, the History Hub, which launched in October, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and is free to the public.

The middle schoolers have used unusual techniques to document the life of John Hope Franklin, the late historian, author, scholar and professor. The student-created exhibit weaves the narrative of a Durham teen through Franklin's writings, focusing on stories from Franklin's life beginning in Tulsa, Okla., and a fictional Durham teen named Kendrick, who shares experiences similar to Franklin's.

Visitors are invited to engage in the Young Scholars collaborative writing process by interacting with life-sized wood cutouts of the main characters in the book, re-organizing the plot elements, and adding suggestions to help shape this book for young teens.

The final version will be published in January 2015 to honor the 100th anniversary of Franklin's birth.

"After three years of trying to carry on John Hope's legacy with focused research on plantation workers, freedom crafters, and the Great Migration, the Young Scholars were surprised to discover that few young people had ever heard of John Hope Franklin," said David Stein, JHFYS program director. "With his 100th birthday coming up, they decided this was a great time to introduce Dr. Franklin to a younger generation."

The John Hope Franklin Young Scholars Program, part of Duke's Center for African and African American Research, introduces high-potential middle schoolers -- mostly members of under-represented minorities -- to university research, paving their path toward college.

The Durham History Hub houses the Museum of Durham History, the only museum in the heart of downtown.

"This will be the second exhibit at the Hub to feature teen perspectives on Durham history," said Katie Spencer, the museum's executive director. "We're thrilled to collaborate with the creative and energetic Young Scholars and to partner with them to share the amazing life of John Hope Franklin with the people who walk through our doors."

The free exhibit will be on display Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except on Christmas Eve Day, Christmas and New Year's Day.  Free hot cider and cookies are available every Tuesday and Wednesday in December.