Autherine Lucy Foster, the first Black student to enroll at the University of Alabama (UA) in the 1950s, has died at the age of 92.
“The UA community is deeply saddened by the passing of our friend, Dr. Autherine Lucy Foster,” UA President Stuart Bell said.
“While we mourn the loss of a legend who embodied love, integrity and a spirit of determination, we are comforted by knowing her legacy will continue at The University of Alabama and beyond,” Bell continued.
Foster, a graduate student studying education, briefly attended the all-white university in 1956 before getting expelled several days later amid protests over her presence on campus.
She routinely faced hostile crowds who threw debris and hurled racially charged threats toward her, The Associated Press noted.
Foster was the last Black student at the university until 1963, when then-Gov. George Wallace (R) pushed back against desegregation of schools, the AP noted.
Foster’s death comes days after university officials honored her by dedicating the building where she attended classes.
“If I am a master teacher, what I hope I am teaching you is that love will take care of everything in our world, don’t you think,” Foster said at the ceremony. “It’s not your color. It’s not how bright you are. It’s how you feel about those that you deal with.”
The university also rewarded Foster with an honorary doctorate in 2019. She earned her master’s degree in education 27 years prior, the AP noted.