President Bill Clinton, Senator Hillary Clinton, Dr. Maya Angelou And Other Luminaries Are Invited Guest Speakers at The Friends of Dr. John Hope Franklin’s 90th Birthday Bash

Washington, DC, February 21, 2005 – On Friday, April 15, 2005, the Washington Interdependence Council and Friends will celebrate the legacy of one of America’s greatest living legends, Dr. John Hope Franklin. Dr. Franklin is among America’s premiere scholars, educators, authors and Statesmen, and is enjoying his 90th birthday this year. The Washington Interdependence Council [WIC] is a non-profit civic agency authorized by Congress [P.L. 105355] to establish a monument to colonial American hero, Benjamin Banneker. The Friends of Dr. John Hope Franklin’s 90th Birthday Celebration will pay homage to Dr. Franklin’s service as Chair of WIC’s Executive Advisory Board, and his illustrious legacy as an esteemed historian. The agency is joined by the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History [ASALH], also celebrating its 90th Anniversary. Dr. Franklin is Chair Emeritus of ASALH, the leading African-American history organization founded by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the creator of Black History Week, now Black History Month, and was a mentor of Dr. Franklin’s. The theme of the special event is Celebrating Our Elders: Past and Present. “We are honored to enjoy the support of Dr. Franklin for our Benjamin Banneker commemorative endeavor; and will celebrate his illustrious life at this very special event,” says Peggy Seats, Founder/CEO of the WIC. The agency is now in its eighth year.


During his terms as President, former President William Jefferson Clinton appointed Dr. Franklin as Chair of One America, his Initiative on Race, and bestowed the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, on Dr. Franklin in recognition of his contributions to his country. Dr. Franklin is the recipient of 126 honorary degrees, a renowned educator teaching at the top universities in the world such as the University of Chicago, Cambridge, Howard and Duke Universities. He holds the distinction as the John M. Manly Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Chicago, and the James B. Duke Professor of History Emeritus at Duke University where a building is named in his honor; and fellowships are established in his name at both institutions. The author of an impressive oeuvre of book titles, his magnum opus is his seminal work, From Slavery to Freedom: The History of African-Americans in America, now in its eighth edition.


Among the VIP special invited guest speakers are former President Bill Clinton, Senator Hillary Clinton, Congressman Mel Watts, Dr. Maya Angelou, Ghanaian Ambassador Fritz Poku and a host of luminaries, family, friends and colleagues, including Duke University President Dr. Richard H. Brodhead. A stellar line up of talent and entertainment to serenade Dr. Franklin will participate in the program including Mr. Juan Williams, Host of America’s Black Forum and NPR Radio as Master of Ceremonies; Internationally Renowned Opera Diva, Ms. Brenda Jackson; Contemporary Jazz Phenomenon Mr. Marshall Keys and his ensemble; Celebrated Actor, Mr. Bill Grimmette; Noted Harpist, Ms. Wendy Willis and Touted Jazz Sensation, Ms. Sendy Brown who will provide entertainment at the VIP Champagne Reception immediately following the banquet.


The event is a fundraiser for the Benjamin Banneker Memorial endeavor and takes place on Friday, April 15, 2005 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 1330 Maryland Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20024. The Banquet is from 7-9 p.m. and is followed by the Champagne Birthday Reception from 9-11. Tickets are $100 per person for the banquet, and $75 per person for the Reception. For further information call the Washington Interdependence Council at 202.387.3380 or go on-line to

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