Autherine Lucy will soon have the honor of her name on a school building at The University of Alabama (UA), and she won’t be sharing it with anyone. In a major announcement last week, UA broke the news—get the full story below.
Honoring Autherine Lucy
The University made national headlines in early February 2022 with their controversial decision to rename an education building on campus to Lucy-Graves Hall.
Autherine Lucy was the first African-American student to enroll at the University back in 1956. Her time at The Capstone was short-lived, thanks to racially-motivated protests, riots and concern for her safety. She was expelled on her third day as a student.
The University asked her to return in 1988, and she graduated alongside her daughter, Grazia. In February 2022, UA announced its decision to rename a building in her honor.
The controversy—Lucy-Graves Hall
And here’s where the controversy comes in. The announcement to honor Lucy raised eyebrows when folks realized she wouldn’t be honored individually. Rather, the building would recognize her and former Alabama governor Bibb Graves together (Lucy-Graves Hall).
While Bibb Graves did make notable contributions to the Alabama education system during his eight-year run as governor, he was also a Grand Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan. Shortly after the announcement, students and alumni across the UA community implored the decision to be reconsidered.
According to the Crimson White, The UA System Board of Trustees announced they would be revisiting the naming of the building on Wednesday, February 9, less than a week after their initial announcement.
Introducing: Autherine Lucy Hall
On Friday, February 11, UA announced the building’s new name: Autherine Lucy Hall. The School of Education building is located on the Southwest corner of campus. According to the Crimson White, the group responsible for the name change had intended for it to be a learning opportunity.
“Well, somehow the honoring of Autherine Lucy Foster sort of took the background and that’s not what we wanted. We’ve heard enough from people whose opinion matters to us—students, faculty, staff—that we can do that in a better way than what we’ve done…I will say that this has been a challenging time. The working group, in making this recommendation, certainly intended for that paired name to generate educational moments and help us learn from our complex and rich history.”—John England Jr., Trustee, The University of Alabama (via The Crimson White)
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