A Clashing of the Soul
John Hope and the Dilemma of African American Leadership and Black Higher Education in the Early Twentieth Century

Leroy Davis
Foreword by John Hope Franklin


"The definitive account of Hope's life . . . As well as analyzing the era's educational and racial politics, Davis paints a rounded and convincing portrait of John Hope as a man, a husband, and a father. . . . This fine study convincingly demonstrates that John Hope was one of the most important southern black leaders between Booker T. Washington and Martin Luther King Jr."
Journal of American History

"A deeply researched, sensitive, and balanced account of the extraordinary career of an individual whose life was spent in combating the malignant consequences of racism. It is a first-class piece of historical scholarship."
—Willard B. Gatewood, author of Black Americans and the White Man's Burden, 1898-1903

John Hope (1868-1936), the first African American president of Morehouse College and Atlanta University, was one of the most distinguished in the pantheon of early-twentieth-century black educators. Born of a mixed-race union in Augusta, Georgia, shortly after the Civil War, Hope had a lifelong commitment to black public and private education, adequate housing and health care, job opportunities, and civil rights that never wavered. Hope became to black college education what Booker T. Washington was to black industrial education.

Leroy Davis examines the conflict inherent in Hope's attempt to balance his joint roles as college president and national leader. Along with his good friend W. E. B. Du Bois, Hope was at the forefront of the radical faction of black leaders in the early twentieth century, but he found himself taking more moderate stances in order to obtain philanthropic funds for black higher education. The story of Hope's life illuminates many complexities that vexed African American leaders in a free but segregated society.

Page count: 488 pp.
Trim size: 6.125 x 9.25

Read more about John Hope at the New Georgia Encyclopedia.


List price: $51.95

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Leroy Davis is a professor of history at Emory University. He is the coeditor of The African Experience in Community Development: The Continuing Struggle in Africa and the Americas. He lives in Atlanta.