Civil Rights attorney Benjamin Crump delivered a speech called “the evolution of Benjamin Franklin and the hope of America” in Fayetteville, Arkansas at Fayetteville State University. His respectful notes are in this article from the Fayetteville Observer. Excerpts:
Crump described Franklin, one of the country’s founders, as a Renaissance man at a time during which other “racist, white men owned black people.”
Though white men aspired to be Franklin’s apprentice, he was encouraged by English literary figure Samuel Johnson to visit a school for African-Americans in Philadelphia, Crump said.
Franklin took the school’s young, black boys under his tutelage, he said.
He concluded that given the right resources, supervision and encouragement, these black youth could be the intellectual equal of their white peers, Crump said.
During the last 10 years of Franklin’s life, he made it his mission to pass legislation to abolish slavery, Crump said. Franklin was president of the first anti-slavery abolitionist movement in America, Crump said.
He said he believes that when Franklin observed the African-American youth, he believed the words in the Declaration of Independence, that all men are created equal.