John Hope Franklin (1915–2009) taught at a number of institutions, including Duke University, Howard University, and the University of Chicago. His 1947 landmark study of the African American experience, From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans, remains among the most widely read works in the field. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1995.

Scott Ellsworth is a professor of Afroamerican and African studies at the University of Michigan and the author of The Ground Breaking: An American City and Its Search for Justice and Death in a Promised Land: The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, the first comprehensive history of the horrific 1921 Tulsa race massacre. He is helping to lead the ongoing effort to uncover the unmarked graves of massacre victims.