In Memoriam: Harold Alonza Franklin, 1932-2021


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Harold Franklin, a long-time educator who in 1964 was the first Black student to enroll at Auburn University in Alabama, died on September 9 at his home in Sylacauga, Alabama. He was 88 years old. A native of Talladega, Alabama, Franklin dropped out of high school to join the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. He later earned a diploma and then graduated from what is now Alabama State University. On January 4, 1964, Franklin enrolled at Auburn University as a graduate student in history. Franklin was admitted under heavy guard and was kept isolated from other students in campus housing. After completing his studies, he was not allowed to defend his master’s degree thesis and was not awarded his degree. This injustice was not corrected until 2020. After leaving Auburn in 1965, Franklin earned a master’s degree in international studies from the University of Denver. He then embarked on a 27-year career as an educator teaching history at Alabama State University, North Carolina A&T State University, Tuskegee University, and Talladega College before retiring in 1992. After leaving academia, he served as a funeral director in Sylacauga, Alabama. In 2001, Auburn honored Franklin as its first Black student by...