First Black Trainee to Integrate Auburn University Makes His Master’s 51 Years Later on – AfroTech

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An 87-year-old college graduate– Harold Franklin Sr.– has actually endured a long battle on his instructional journey to earn his master’s degree and 51 years later on he can finally say he’s gotten it.

On Jan. 4, 1964, the then-graduate trainee stepped onto Auburn University’s campus as the very first Black student to incorporate their campus in pursuit of his master’s degree, Face 2 Face Africa reports.

Upon his arrival, the university rejected Franklin admission and a dorm space to which the Talladega native followed through with a lawsuit.

Back in 1963, Federal Judge Frank Johnson ruled that Auburn allow him to register. His master’s thesis was consistently turned down up till 1969, avoiding him from making his degree.

“I believed I did a good job on the thesis,” Franklin informed “One teacher told me my own had to be best. I came back and made the modifications they suggested.”

“They still complained about this or that. I had been to the thesis room and read the white kids’ thesis,” he included. “I could not comprehend why mine wasn’t acceptable and the others were.”

According to Face 2 Face Africa, after recognizing the university refused to offer him his degree, Franklin participated in the University of Denver where he earned a master’s degree in worldwide studies.

In 2001, Auburn awarded Franklin an honorary doctor of arts degree, reports, however Franklin still said “there was an incompleteness” in his academic accomplishments.

Over half a years later, the university lastly invited him back to safeguard his original thesis.

“He had actually written a well-research master’s thesis,” stated Keith Hebert, associate professor of history at Auburn. “He had, more than 50 years previously, satisfied all requirements. We arranged a defense. It’s disgraceful that it had to take this long.”

Franklin had the ability to safeguard his master’s thesis successfully on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, according to Hebert, the chair of the thesis committee, reports Face 2 Face Africa. He was also released a formal apology for the delay in awarding the degree in addition to his approved thesis.

“I’m honoured,” stated Franklin in an interview with “I enjoy they finally decided after all these years. I’ll exist at graduation and get that degree.”

Franklin graduated from the College for Liberal Arts at Auburn in May of 2020, receiving his degree in the mail due to COVID-19.

He formerly taught at Tuskegee University from 1965 to 1968, and later on at Talladega College, where he was an assistant professor of history until he retired in 1992. Franklin now works part-time at Terry’s Metropolitan Mortuary in Talladega, AL.