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Today marks the 60th anniversary of an important day in The University of Alabama’s history. On Feb. 6, 1956, Autherine Lucy took the first steps toward the desegregation of The University of Alabama, becoming the first African-American student to be accepted and enrolled.

Because of significant unrest on campus, her initial enrollment lasted only three days. After the UA administration told her that the school could no longer protect her, she was suspended and later expelled. Successful desegregation at UA occurred on June 11, 1963, the day Vivian Malone and James Hood enrolled on campus.

The Board of Trustees overturned Autherine Lucy Foster’s expulsion in 1988. A year later, she again enrolled at the University, joining her daughter, Grazia Foster, who was a student at the Capstone at the time. They graduated together in 1992; Autherine earned a master’s degree in elementary education, and Grazia earned a bachelor’s degree in corporate finance.

To honor the impact these students had on campus, UA built the Malone-Hood Plaza in front of Foster Auditorium, including the Autherine Lucy Clock Tower, 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.

Autherine Lucy Foster’s experience is commemorated on campus in a variety of other ways, as well. The Black Faculty and Staff Association awards a scholarship to a rising senior African-American female in her name, her portrait hangs in the third floor of the Ferguson Student Center, and she was inducted 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.