Auburn Alumni Center
317 S. College St.
Auburn, AL 36830
P: 334.844.4000
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Sponsored by Auburn Alumni Association, Auburn Athletics, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Auburn University, Auburn University Office of Communications and Marketing

Date: September 27th, 2019
Time: 3:00 PM

Join award-winning journalist Sam Heys on Friday, September 27 at 3 p.m. as he remembers Henry Harris, Auburn University's first African-American scholarship athlete. The event is free and open to the public.

Henry Harris, who came to Auburn from Greene County Training School, was only a teenager when he began playing for Auburn's basketball team; however, he composed himself with great grace in the face of racial discrimination. He died suddenly at the age of 24 in 1974. 

In his talk, Mr. Heys will fill in the blanks about Henry Harris's death. He will also trace Harris’s journey from living in an abandoned store in Boligee, Alabama, to a rooftop in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a passage that helped revolutionize the South and America. 

Sam Heys covered the integration of the Southeastern Conference as a reporter for the Atlanta Constitution and Columbus Enquirer in the 1970s, interviewing most of the racial pioneers in the SEC and Atlantic Coast Conference. Heys utilized that reporting and years of research to inform his commentary as an on-camera storyteller in the 2017 documentary Triumph: The Untold Story of Perry Wallace. Heys is also the author or co-author of three nonfiction books, including the widely praised The Winecoff Fire: The Untold Story of America’s Deadliest Hotel Fire. His article on a state champion basketball team, “Hills of Coal, Feats of Clay," was named the best sports feature story published in U.S. newspapers in 1988 and chosen as the lead story in that year’s Best Sports Stories anthology. 

Mr. Heys holds master’s and specialist degrees in counseling from Georgia State University. He is a licensed mental health counselor.