UA to honor Autherine Lucy Foster in memorial service


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.

Ainsley Platt, Staff Reporter

The University of Alabama will hold a memorial service for Autherine Lucy Foster in Foster Auditorium at 11 a.m. on March 24. 

Lucy, the first Black student to attend the University, died on March 2, at the age of 92, less than a week after the University dedicated Autherine Lucy Hall in her honor

“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 at the building dedication. “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.”

Lucy was the first Black student to enroll at the University in 1956, but was expelled soon after when anti-integration riots broke out on campus. 

In 1988, the University annulled her expulsion, and she returned to complete her master’s degree. In 2019, the University awarded her an honorary doctorate in education.

“The UA community is deeply saddened by the passing of our friend, Dr. Autherine Lucy Foster,” UA President Stuart Bell said in a statement. “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.”