John Hope, a native of Augusta, Georgia, began his illustrious career in 1894 as a faculty member at Roger Williams University in Nashville, Tennessee where he taught natural science, Latin and Greek. He also coached the school’s football team. This future President of Morehouse College graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. He was much loved and respected by his students as evidenced by at least one of them honoring him by naming a child for him. The parents of the eminent historian, Dr. John Hope Franklin named their son for their mentor. John Hope was among the cadre of intellectuals and community leaders who advocated full citizenship for African Americans. He was an active participant in the Niagara Movement that led to the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
In 1898, Hope moved to Atlanta, Georgia and a faculty position at Morehouse College, and eight years later became its first African American president. When the Atlanta University Center was created, he was selected to lead this institution.
Hope was active in numerous professional organizations including the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), where he served as president. He married Lugenia Burns of Chicago, Illinois in 1897. They were the parents of two sons, Edward and John, Jr. John Hope died in Atlanta in 1936.