First black student at University of Alabama who was expelled in 1956 gets honorary doctorate
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The first black student to ever enroll at and attend the University of Alabama, received an honorary doctoral degree from the institution on Friday.


“I love The University of Alabama, and it is an honor to be recognized in this way,”Autherine Lucy Foster said in a statement. 

“I am thankful for opportunities such as this, which allow us to talk about the past while looking to the future,” she continued.

Foster, 89, enrolled into the university in 1956. She originally applied to be a student at the school in 1952, shortly after earning an English degree from another college earlier that year, but was denied because of her race, the university said in a release

It wasn't until a court intervened and ordered the school to reverse its decision that Foster could enroll at the institution in 1956. She had taken up classes at the school for three days before she was expelled after her enrollment prompted a wave of racist protests and death threats targeting her.

Thirty-five years later, Foster would eventually be able to graduate from the school in 1991, earning a master’s degree in education.

“It’s truly a privilege to award Mrs. Foster with an honorary degree from The University of Alabama,” the university’s president, Stuart R. Bell, said in a statement.

“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,” he added.