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As Auburn University prepares to celebrate the rich legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., it takes time to also acknowledge the 58th anniversary of the institution’s integration by Harold Franklin.

Franklin, who passed away on Sept. 9, 2021, was Auburn first African American student who integrated the university on Jan. 4, 1964. His efforts to desegregate the campus community have opened doors for other African American students to succeed and fulfill their educational dreams. The university will continue to honor Franklin’s bravery through its ongoing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the year.

Public events at Auburn, such as the Harold Franklin Desegregation Marker Dedication, which was held on Nov. 11, have not only acknowledged Franklin’s impact and commemorated his achievements, but have further unified and strengthened our campus and surrounding community. After his time spent at Auburn University breaking barriers and paving the way for others, Franklin went on to a successful 27-year career as an educator in higher education, earning a master’s degree in international studies from the University of Denver and becoming a history professor at Alabama State University, North Carolina A&T State University, Tuskegee Institute and Talladega College before retiring in 1992. Recently, the Auburn Alumni Association’s Black Alumni Council named a scholarship in his honor.

To ensure all members of the Auburn Family have the opportunity to learn more about pivotal leaders on campus and in the world, the Office of Inclusion and Diversity, or OID, will be hosting several events throughout January, including a Canned Good and Hygiene Product Drive Jan. 3-24, a Community Picnic on Jan. 15 and the MLK Scholarship Breakfast on Jan. 17, hosted by the National Forum for Black Public Administrators and the Office of University Outreach. While the MLK Scholarship Breakfast is planned as a hybrid event with in-person and virtual attendance options, organizers are continuing to assess virus-related information and will adjust if needed.

The Black Student Union, or BSU, also will continue its yearly tradition and collaborate on a day of service, and OID will host a multicultural student leadership trip to Equal Justice Initiative and the Rosa Parks Museum on Jan. 21. The full calendar of scheduled events and how to register is available here

As 2022 begins with this time to celebrate equality, social justice and accelerating diversity, Auburn honors both King and Franklin for their meaningful work and remarkable journeys, which continue to move and inspire lives. The legacies of both King and Franklin serve as reminders to stand up and speak in moments of injustice, possess a bold and courageous spirit, reflect on progress so far and continue to establish spaces that are inclusive of all.

For more information on Auburn’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, please visit the university’s DEI webpage.

 

Harold A. Franklin integrated Auburn University on Jan. 4, 1964.