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Auburn University Ordered to Admit Negro Student

Nov. 5, 1963 - A Federal judge ordered Auburn University today to admit its first Negro student in January and to accept students in the future without regard to race. Judge Frank Johnson Jr. directed the 107-year-old Alabama university to enroll Harold Franklin (pictured) for graduate studies in the quarter beginning Jan. 2. Franklin would be the first Negro ever to attend Auburn, Alabama’s only land grant university. Three other state institutions of higher learning — the University of Alabama, its Huntsville Center, and Florence State College — had previously been ordered to admit Negroes. A sweeping restraining order prohibits Auburn officials from continuing segregation and obliges them to accept all qualified Negro applicants. Auburn officials have argued that Franklin, a 1962 graduate of Alabama State College, was turned down because that college was not accredited. Judge Johnson dismissed the argument as an excuse to maintain segregation and said Mr. Franklin was unable to receive undergraduate education at an accredited school in Alabama “solely because he is a Negro.” University president Ralph Draughon said today he would appeal the decision. Governor George Wallace said the court order was “a tragic decision.” “Pursued to its ultimate conclusion,” he said at a news conference before a speaking engagement at Dartmouth College, “it would mean a lowering of educational standards.” Mr. Franklin seeks a master’s degree in history and political science at Auburn.


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