Alabama hosts Autherine Lucy Hall celebration Friday

By WVUA 23 News Reporter Joseph King

Weeks after the University of Alabama first made an attempt at honoring the school’s first Black student by putting her name on the College of Education building, a crowd of more than a hundred gathered Friday in celebration of Autherine Lucy Hall.

It’s not the first time the building got a new name, as on Feb. 3 the University of Alabama System announced the then-Bibb Graves Hall would be named Lucy-Graves Hall.

That move drew criticism from around the country, as it paired the name of Autherine Lucy Foster with former Alabama Gov. Bibb Graves, who earned the governor’s seat with the help of the Ku Klux Klan.

Just over a week later, on Feb. 11, the UA System Board of Trustees met again and announced the building would be renamed Autherine Lucy Hall.

On Friday, UA President Stuart Bell said the building’s name is well deserved.

“This community event is an opportunity for our faculty, for our staff, for our students, for our alumni, and for all of our friends in this great, wonderful community to be able to celebrate the remarkable influence of one brave woman,” Bell said.

Foster, who was at the event, said this is one of the first times she’s been out in public since her husband died in 2019. She said she believes something as simple as loving one another could cure the world’s issues.

“I just pray that we as people learn to love each other,” Foster said. “It doesn’t mean to like everything people do, but you love them just the same. Maybe if they see that you show them love, then they will show love back to you.”

Foster said if she could see the mob of people who prevented her from attending UA in 1956 she’d have something special for them.

“All I did was run and get out of the way,” she said. “I could see those people now and smile at them if they would do the same.”

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