Originally broadcast at 1:00 p.m. ET Monday, July 12, 2021.
Dr. Robert Michael Franklin, Jr. is President-Emeritus of Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA, having served there from 2007 to 2012. Currently a Senior Advisor to the President of Emory University, he is the James T. and Berta R. Laney Professor in Moral Leadership there as well. Previously serving from 1997 until 2002 as president of the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC), the graduate theological seminary of the Atlanta University Center consortium, from 2004-2007 he was Presidential Distinguished Professor of Social Ethics at Emory University and a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at the law school. Having served as Theologian in Residence for the 2005 Season at the historic Chautauqua Institution, he later became Director of the Interfaith Department of Religion at Chautauqua from 2013 to 2017. In 2013 he was also a visiting scholar at Stanford University. He currently provides commentary for the National Public Radio (NPR) program, “All Things Considered,” and weekly commentary for Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasting Television.
Dr. Franklin graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Morehouse in 1975, with a degree in political science and religion, and continues there today as a presidential fellow for the Andrew Young Center for Global Leadership. He earned an M.Div. at Harvard Divinity School in 1978, continuing his education at the University of Chicago and earning a doctorate in ethics and society, and religion and the social sciences, in 1985. He had earlier undertaken international study at the University of Durham, UK, as a 1973 English Speaking Union Scholar. His major fields of study include social ethics, psychology, and African American religion. He is the recipient of honorary degrees from Bethune-Cookman University, Ursinus College, Bates College, University of New England, Centre College, Hampden Sydney College, and Swarthmore College.
An insightful educator, Dr. Franklin has served on the faculties of the University of Chicago, Harvard Divinity School, Colgate-Rochester Divinity School, and at Emory University's Candler School of Theology, where he gained a national reputation as director of Black Church Studies. He has also served as program officer in Human Rights and Social Justice at the Ford Foundation, and as an adviser to the Foundation’s president on future funding for religion and public life initiatives.
Robert Franklin is the author of four books: Moral Leadership: Integrity, Courage, Imagination (2020); Crisis in the Village: Restoring Hope in African American Communities (2007); Another Day’s Journey: Black Churches Confronting the American Crisis (1997); and Liberating Visions: Human Fulfillment and Social Justice in African American Thought (1990). He has co-authored (Don S. Browning, et. al.) a volume titled, From Culture Wars to Common Ground: Religion and the American Family Debate (2001). He also penned the foreword to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s, Letter from Birmingham Jail, reprinted by Trinity Forum in 2012.
Robert is married to Cheryl Goffney Franklin, M.D., an OB-GYN physician and graduate of Stanford University (B.A.), Columbia University School of Public Health (M.P.H.) and Harvard Medical School (M.D.). He is the father of three children: Imani Renee Franklin; Robert M. Franklin, III and Julian Michael DeShazier. In 2005, DeShazier graduated from Morehouse College summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. Franklin has two grandchildren, Dania Elle and Genevieve DeShazier.
About Chautauqua Institution: Chautauqua Institution is a community on the shores of Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York state that comes alive each summer with a unique mix of fine and performing arts, lectures, interfaith worship and programs, and recreational activities. As a community, we celebrate, encourage and study the arts and treat them as integral to all of learning, and we convene the critical conversations of the day to advance understanding through civil dialogue. CHQ Assembly is the online expression of Chautauqua Institution's mission.