University president celebrates 60th anniversary of first black student accepted and enrolled
University President Stuart Bell sent an email to students, faculty and staff on Feb. 5, 2016, marking the 60th anniversary of the day the first black student was accepted and enrolled at the University.
On Feb. 6, 1956, Autherine Lucy Foster became the first black student to enroll at the University, the statement read. Because of campus unrest, administration could not protect her. Her enrollment lasted three days, after which she was suspended and later expelled, the statement read.
On June 11, 1963, Vivian Malone and James Hood, two black students, enrolled on campus. This, the statement read, was the day the University successfully desegregated.
According to the statement, the Board of Trustees overturned Foster's expulsion in 1988, and she re-enrolled a year later. Her daughter, Grazia Foster, was also a UA student at the time. Foster earned a masters degree in elementary education, the statement read.
In honor of the impact this had on campus, the University built the Malone-Hood Plaza and the Autherine Lucy Clock Tower in front of Foster Auditorium in 2010.
"The 40-foot-tall brick tower, with open arches and four large bronze plaques at its base, tells the story of Autherine Lucy Foster, James Hood and Vivian Malone Jones, and the courage they displayed in breaking down barriers and in opening doors," the statement read.
According to the statement, Foster is also commemorated through a scholarship in her name, her portrait hanging in the Ferguson Student Center and her induction into the Division of Student Affairs Hall of Fame in 2013.
"Today we honor the impact and legacy of Autherine Lucy Foster on The University of Alabama," the statement read.