Autherine Lucy Foster dies at 92


CW / Caroline Simmons

Autherine Lucy waves to the crowd after cutting the ribbon at the dedication of the newly named Autherine Lucy Hall in Tuscaloosa, Alabama on Feb. 25, 2022.

Keely Brewer | @keelykbrewer, Editor-in-Chief

Autherine Lucy Foster, the first Black student to attend the University of Alabama in 1956, has died at 92 years old. 

The news comes less than a week after the University dedicated the College of Education building in her honor. 

At the dedication ceremony on Feb. 25, the state of Alabama granted her the title of master teacher, which will never be awarded again. 

“If I am a master teacher, I hope I am teaching you that love will take care of everything in our world, don’t you think,” Lucy said. “And it does not matter what color we are. That’s what I want to teach. It’s not your color. It’s not how bright you are. It is how you feel about those that you deal with. And if I am a master teacher, that’s what I hope to teach.”

Three days after she attended her first class in 1956, violent protests on campus led to her suspension. She hid out in the College of Education building to protect herself from what has been called the most violent post-Brown, anti-integration protests. 

The University officially annulled her expulsion in 1988, and she returned to earn her master’s in education. In 2019, the University awarded Lucy with an honorary doctorate in education. 

“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,” UA President Stuart Bell said. “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.”