The First Black Student That Enrolled In The University Of Alabama Received An Honorary Doctorate, 60 Years Later


Autherine Lucy Foster, from Shiloh, Alabama, who is now 89 years old has been awarded an honorary doctorate 60 years after her expulsion from the University of Alabama. Foster was the first black student that was able to enroll at this university in 1952. Because of her skin color, her admittance was initially rescinded, but was reversed by a federal court order in 1956. 

After this court decision was made, riots began occurring in the campus by undergrads who were protesting her admission, and they expelled her once again. 


In 1988, Foster’s explosion was officially annulled, which gave her another chance to re-enroll. She graduated with a master’s degree in education three years later. With all the difficulties she had to endure throughout the years just to get a decent education, Foster chose to continue being positive. 

“I love the University of Alabama, and it is an honor to be recognized in this way,” she said in a press release. “I am thankful for opportunities such as this, which allow us to talk about the past while looking to the future.”


Foster has been praised by the university as a civil rights role model. They have honored her with two scholarships and named two campus landmarks after her. The press release included that “she was the architect of desegregating Alabama’s education systems, as she became the first African American to attend a white school or university in the state of Alabama.

Foster accepted her honorary degree last month, while the crowd celebrated her with a standing ovation. “It’s truly a privilege to award Mrs. Foster with an honorary degree from the University of Alabama,” university President Stuart R. Bell said. “Her tenacious spirit, gracious heart for helping others and unfailing belief in the value of education and human rights positions Mrs. Foster as a meaningful example of what one can achieve in the face of adversity.”


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