Family says UA renaming the education building after Autherine Lucy Foster is an honor

Published: Feb. 11, 2022 at 10:52 PM CST
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - The University of Alabama is re-naming the education building to honor the school’s first ever Black student, Autherine Lucy Foster.

“The fact that they were willing to do that, she was honored,” Autherine Lucy Foster’s daughter, Angela Foster Dickerson, said. “We are grateful to the University that they are continuing to honor her in her living.”

This name wasn’t the University’s original plan. Last week, they voted to name the building “Lucy Graves Hall” after Autherine and former Governor Bibb Graves. But, Graves was a former KKK leader and some did not think the two names should be on the same building. Dickerson said 92-year-old Autherine didn’t care either way.

“It doesn’t change who my mother is or what my mother did,” Dickerson said. “So, the fact that they initially were not going to take his name off, it was fine. We were happy with it, we were happy without it.”

Dickerson said while her mother was happy no matter the name, she’s thankful they voted to just honor her mother.

“To have it just be the ‘Autherine Lucy Hall’ now, I was almost brought to tears,” Dickerson said. “Because, I was actually able to listen to the vote this morning, so the resolution to name it the ‘Autherine Lucy Hall’ all by itself was very touching.”

While Foster is celebrated now by the university, that wasn’t always the case. Back in 1956, mobs and threats of violence forced her to leave. But, her expulsion was reversed in 1988 and she went back and got her Master’s Degree.

“I’m still amazed even at this point in time what she endured during that time,” Dickerson said.

Dickerson said for her mother, the name ‘Autherine Lucy Hall’ means so much because it is coming from the University that means so much to her.

“She enjoys everything that the University does,” Dickerson said. “She really does. She loves everything about it.”

Dickerson said she and her mother will head to Tuscaloosa on the 25th for a ceremony to honor the buildings new name.


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