We Must Get Beyond Textbooks, Go Out Into the Bypaths and Untrodden Depths of the Wilderness of Truth

John Hope Franklin? John Hope? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: Educator and activist John Hope has received credit for the following statement:

We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness.

Confusingly, these words have also been attributed to historian and educator John Hope Franklin. Some versions use the phrase “get beyond” instead of “go beyond”. Would you please help?

Quote Investigator: The ascription to John Hope Franklin is incorrect. This error corresponds to a known misquotation mechanism. A statement is sometimes improperly reassigned to an individual with a name that is similar to the actual creator of the quotation.

John Hope died in 1936, and in 1948 the biography “The Story of John Hope” by Ridgely Torrence appeared. The book reprinted part of a speech that Hope delivered in Nashville, Tennessee on “The Need of a Liberal Education for Us”. Hope stated that black people should enter into the highest echelons of scholarship and should perform original research. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1

We must get beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness of truth, and explore and tell to the world the glories of our journey.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading We Must Get Beyond Textbooks, Go Out Into the Bypaths and Untrodden Depths of the Wilderness of Truth

Notes:

  1. 1948, The Story of John Hope by Ridgely Torrence, Chapter 7: Going Home, Quote Page 116, The Macmillan Company, New York. (Verified with scans)