Updated Feb. 2, 2023
Autherine Lucy Foster was the first black student to be admitted to an all-white public school or university in the entire state of Alabama. Foster was recently honored by The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa on September 17, 2017. The university asked Autherine Lucy to speak about her experiences, and the enormous obstacles she has overcome to get to where she is today. She was then presented with a campus landmark dedicated in her name, on The University of Alabama’s Graves’ lawn. Foster’s actions and determination to actively make change in a prejudiced society have paved the way of civil equality today.
Foster’s success has become an inspiration to many African-Americans worldwide. Autherine Lucy Foster who is currently 87, attempted to enroll at The University of Alabama in 1952. She was originally accepted, until admissions found out that she was African-American. Attorneys fought for Foster’s right to attend the university, and about a year later she was admitted into the school. Not even one hundred years ago, Foster was the first African-American student to attend a public university.
Unfortunately it does not end there, Foster’s education at Alabama was cut short. Less than a week into her attendance at the university, Foster was harassed on campus and bombarded with endless threats. When Foster spoke on September 17, she talked about her experience of the 3000 Klansmen waiting for her to step outside and chanting racial statements at her. Foster was suspended for “her safety, and the safety of other students,” and she was later on expelled.
Over thirty years later, her expulsion was finally annulled and Foster returned to the University of Alabama and earned her Master’s degree in education. Foster’s ambition and actions have left an impact on Alabama, and on the entire nation. Her courage to fight against social injustice at the university has qualified her a legacy on the campus. Foster truly is an inspiration, and an empowering woman to look up to. She has strived for greatness, and continues to impact lives of many students.