TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Autherine Lucy Foster, the primary African-American scholar to attend the College of Alabama, obtained an honorary doctorate diploma Friday from the college the place her presence introduced mobs of protesters in 1956.
The Tuscaloosa Information reported that Foster, 89 obtained the diploma throughout commencement ceremonies. She enrolled on the all-white college in 1956. Nevertheless, she was expelled three days later after her presence introduced protests and threats in opposition to her life.
Foster obtained a standing ovation Friday, information retailers report.
Earlier than receiving the respect, she remarked on the distinction in seeing smiling faces “as a substitute of frowning and displeased at my being right here.”
“I sat down final night time, and once I thought of it, I used to be crying. The tears have been simply rolling down my eyes as a result of it’s so totally different and so distinctive for me to have the ability to come to such a college as this. That could be a fantastic campus on the market,” Foster instructed the newspaper.
Her transient enrollment got here after a prolonged courtroom battle. She had first utilized to the college in 1952 after incomes a level in English from Miles Faculty, however her acceptance was rescinded as a result of she was not white.
African American college students didn’t return to the campus till 1963 when Gov. George Wallace made his notorious stand within the college home door.
Foster earned a grasp’s diploma in training from the college in 1991, greater than 35 years after attending her first-class. She waited till 1992 to graduate to share the second along with her daughter, who can be a UA alumna.
The college acknowledged Foster in 2017 with a historic marker in entrance of Graves Corridor which homes the faculty of training. The college additionally named the clock tower at Malone Hood Plaza after Foster.