Her Determination Desegregated This University

A. Lucy Foster
Leslie Taylor-Grover
October 4, 2021

Autherine Lucy Foster was happy when she was admitted to the University of Alabama in 1952. But when the admissions board found out she was Black, they changed their minds and rescinded her admission! However, Foster’s destiny had other plans.

The Brown v. Board decision in 1954 declared segregation illegal. Brave and steadfast in her desire to get an education, Foster returned to the university four years after being denied admission – but was immediately met with hatred.

She couldn't live or dine on campus. And soon things turned violent when white rioters attacked her – all while local police stood by watching! Later, a university board voted to remove Foster from campus, citing safety concerns and cutting her education short once again.

Although she was only a University of Alabama student for less than one week, Foster's determination made way for her return in 1989 for her master's degree. In 1992, Foster and her daughter, Grazia, both walked across the commencement stage together, degrees in hand!

Today, the university that once despised a Black woman's presence is home to one of the South's largest Black student populations and gives a yearly $25,000 scholarship in her honor. Foster’s tireless will to fight for her rights is a mindset we should all embody – no matter the hurdles they place along our paths.

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