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First Black student at Auburn University dies at 88

September 10, 2021 GMT

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

Harold A. Franklin of Sylacauga died at his home on Thursday, the school said in a statement. 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 Alabama State University, North Carolina A&T State University, Tuskegee University and Talladega College over a 27-year career. He retired in 1992.

Auburn honored Franklin as its first Black student by awarding him an honorary degree and in 2015. A historic marker near the university library tells his story, and a scholarship is named in his honor.