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First Black student to attend Alabama dies at 92

Autherine Lucy Foster-Obit
Posted at 5:18 PM, Mar 04, 2022

The first Black student to attend the University of Alabama has died.

Autherine Lucy Foster died Wednesday at the age of 92, the university confirmed in a statement.

“The UA community is deeply saddened by the passing of our friend, Dr. Autherine Lucy Foster," said UA President Dr. 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.”

The Associated Press reported that Foster attended classes at the all-white school for three days in 1956 before she was expelled due to protests outside the school that brought threats against her life.

After she left, the university did not have Black students attend until 1963 when Gov. George Wallace famously attempted to stop two Black students from entering the school, according to the Digital Library of Georgia.

A week before her death, the school dedicated a building that was already named for a KKK leader and former governor where she briefly attended classes, the news outlet reported.

The AP reported that the school awarded Foster an honorary doctorate in 2019 after she received a master's degree in education from the university in 1992.