Harold Franklin: Making history as Auburn University’s first African-American student

VIDEO; Harold Franklin 1st Auburn African American Student

TALLADEGA, Ala. (WBRC) - History is what Harold Franklin is all about - both teaching it and making it.

Franklin become the first African-American student to enroll and attend Auburn University back on January 4, 1964. After receiving his undergraduate degree at Alabama State College, Franklin wanted an advance degree and he ended up pursuing a master’s at Auburn.

“I wanted to go to Alabama and become a lawyer, however I would settle going to Auburn,” said Franklin. “I never really had an issues with other students at Auburn. Sure, I received the occasional harassing phone call, but nothing physically bad ever happened.”

Franklin did have trouble with submitting his thesis, which was rejected repeatedly.

After more than 55 years, Auburn’s history department accepted Franklin’s thesis in February 2020. At some point he will receive a College for Liberal Arts master’s degree.

At 87 years old, the wait is well worth it to Franklin.

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