Autherine Lucy, University of Alabama’s first Black student, civil rights hero, dies at 92

University Of Alabama
Dr. Autherine Lucy Foster at the dedication of the Autheirne Lucy Hall in February 2022. (University of Alabama/Facebook)

Autherine Lucy Foster, the first Black student enrolled at the University of Alabama has passed away at 92.

Her death came a week after  the University of Alabama held a dedication ceremony renaming the College of Education building in her honor.

UA President Stuart Bell released a statement this morning.

“The UA community is deeply saddened by the passing of our friend, Dr. Autherine Lucy Foster,” said UA President Stuart R. Bell. “While we mourn the loss of a legend who embodied love, integrity and a spirit of determination, we are comforted by knowing her legacy will continue at The University of Alabama and beyond. We were privileged to dedicate Autherine Lucy Hall in her honor just last week and to hear her words of encouragement for our students. Dr. Foster will always be remembered as one who broke barriers, reminded us of the respect due to every individual and lived a life of strength in steadfast service to her students and community.”

Civil Rights Hero 

Seventy years ago, in 1952, Autherine Lucy, enrolled at the University of Alabama. When school administrators found out her race, she was denied admittance. After a three year court battle, she re-enrolled in 1956. Her presence on campus was met by a mob. After two days she was expelled by university officials. They cited concerns for her safety as the reason why she was sent home. 

Name Change: From Graves Hall to Lucy Hall

Last week, the University held a ribbon cutting renaming Graves Hall to Autherine Lucy Hall. 

Below is a video of the dedication:

Words to Live By

Called a master teacher, at the dedication she said these wise words to live by.

“Oh my, my heart is so heavy and yet so light. If I am a master teacher, I hope I’m teaching you that love will take care of everything in our world.”

Take a moment today to honor Autherine Lucy and her message of love. 

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Pat Byington
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