First Black student at Auburn University dies at 88

Alabama News

Harold A. Franklin, 31-year-old insurance salesman, begins the registration process to become the first Black student at Auburn University, Auburn, Ala., Jan. 4, 1964. At right is Dean W.V. Parker of the graduate school. (AP Photo)

October 02 2021 06:00 pm

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — The first Black student to integrate Auburn University nearly 60 years ago has died.

A statement from the school says Harold A. Franklin of Sylacauga died at his home on Thursday. He was 88.

Franklin enrolled at Auburn as a graduate student in January 1964, becoming the first Black person to attend. He wasn’t allowed to defend his thesis at Auburn and left in 1965, although he finally participated in commencement exercises at Auburn in December.

Franklin had long since earned a master’s degree from the University of Denver and taught history at four colleges over a 27-year career. He retired in 1992.

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