Sun | Jan 20, 2019

Musgrave Medal for Franklin W. Knight

Published:Sunday | October 13, 2013 | 12:00 AM
The Phillips Collection Director Dorothy Kosinski talks about Vincent van Gogh's 'The Road Menders', at the museum in Washington.
A woman reads about Vincent van Gogh's repetition of 'Madame Roulin Rocking the Cradle' (right) on display at The Phillips Collection in Washington.
A visitor looks at Vincent van Gogh's 'Le Moulin de la Galette', on display at The Phillips Collection in Washington.-AP photos

As the first black faculty member to gain academic tenure at the Johns Hopkins University, Dr Franklin W. Knight is important in the African-American history of the institution. In 1973, Knight joined the Johns Hopkins faculty as part of the internationally recognised Atlantic History and Culture Programme.

Since then, his academic and teaching interests remain focused on the social, economic, political and cultural aspects of Latin America and the Caribbean region, especially after the 18th century, as well as on American slave systems in their comparative dimensions.

He was born in Manchester and attended Calabar High School before reading for a history degree at the University of the West Indies, Mona.

In 1978, he became the first non-white professor at the Johns Hopkins and continues to make remarkable contributions to the community. For more than 30 years, he has mentored a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate students, many of whom are now leading scholars of Caribbean and Latin American history.

Knight is currently the Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Professor of History and the director of the Center for Africana Studies at Johns Hopkins. He was appointed to both positions in 1991. He sits on several of the university's boards and committees, as well as directs the History of African-Americans at the Johns Hopkins Institutions Project.

He has published numerous books, including Slave Society in Cuba during the Nineteenth Century (Wisconsin, 1970); The African Dimension of Latin American Societies (Macmillan, 1974); The Caribbean: The Genesis of a Fragmented Nationalism (Oxford, 1978; 2nd Edition, revised 1990, 3rd edition revised, 2012); Africa and the Caribbean: Legacies of a Link, co-edited with Margaret Crahan (Johns Hopkins, 1979); and The Modern Caribbean, co-edited with Colin A. Palmer (Chapel Hill, 1989) - just to name a few.

Knight served as president of the Latin American Studies Association between October 1998 and May 2000 and as president of the Historical Society between 2004 and 2006.

He speaks English and Spanish, and reads German, Portuguese, Italian and French.


Knight serves on advisory committees of The Historical Society, the National Research Council, the Handbook of Latin American Studies of the Hispanic Division of the Library of Congress, and on the editorial boards of several academic journals in Spain, Colombia, Great Britain and the United States. He has lectured widely across North and South America as well as in Europe, Australia and Japan.

In 2001, he was elected a corresponding member of the Academy of Letters of Bahia, Brazil, and in 2006, he was elected foreign corresponding member of Academia Dominicana de La Historia in the Dominican Republic. The University of the West Indies awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Letters, in 2007 for his work as an eminent educator and author at the Johns Hopkins University.

The Institute of Jamaica (IOJ) will honour Knight with the Gold Musgrave Medal for his distinguished eminence in the field of literature at the Annual Musgrave Awards ceremony on October 16 in the IOJ Lecture Hall.