Though Auburn’s integration process was relatively quiet in comparison to the chaos surrounding integration at the University of Alabama and Ole Miss, Howard Franklin still experienced his fair share of frustration in the months leading up to becoming an Auburn Tiger. In his own words, Harold Franklin describes the court appearances, F.B.I. searches and threats from Gov. George Wallace in the days leading up to January 4, 1964, the day he became Auburn University’s first African-American student.
The first in a four-part series combining the firsthand testimony of Franklin and period photos from that age of uncertainty, Auburn Magazine takes a look at the desegregation process through Franklin’s eyes and memories.
With the help of Civil Rights lawyer Fred Gray and then — Auburn University president Ralph Brown Draughon, Franklin was able to overcome the legal barriers keeping blacks and whites divided and successfully integrated Auburn for the first time.
Part 2 will feature Franklin’s struggle to gain on-campus housing and the second ensuing court battle with the University, followed by registration and the aftermath of the desegregation process.
Franklin, Thom Gossom and others remember the tension on both sides of the racial divide that culminated with Auburn’s desegregation in the spring of 1964 in the Summer 2014 issue of Auburn Magazine.
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