Woman receives honorary doctorate at 89; accepts honor in tears

Woman receives honorary doctorate at 89; accepts honor in tears

First African-American woman to attend the University of Alabama, Lucy Foster, has made history again after receiving an honorary doctorate at the university at 89.

Autherine Lucy Foster, the first African-American woman to be admitted at the University of Alabama has been honoured with a doctorate degree last Friday, May 3, 2019, from the university where she received a heroine’s reception.

She was first admitted at the university in 1956.

Local news reported that the 89-year-old received the degree during the school's graduation ceremony.

She enrolled at the university at a time when the university was dominated by whites. But she was later expelled three days after her presence brought protest and threats against her life.

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Prior to receiving the honor, she commented on the difference in seeing smiling faces ‘‘instead of frowning and displeased at my being here.’’

"I sat down last night, and when I thought about it, I was crying. The tears were just rolling down my eyes because it is so different and so unique for me to be able to come to such a university as this. That is a wonderful campus out there,'' Foster said.

She received a loud standing ovation Friday for her speech.

After daring to enroll at an all-white university in 1956, it didn’t go beyond a week before she got expelled.

Foster had first applied to the university in 1952 after earning a degree in English from Miles College. However her acceptance was revoked because she was not white.

It took her a while before she returned to campus in 1963.

She earned a master's degree in education from the university in 1991, more than 35 years after attending her first class.

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She waited until 1992 to graduate to share the moment with her daughter, who is also a UA alumna.

The university acknowledged Foster in 2017 with a historic marker in front of Graves Hall which houses the college of education.

The university also named the clock tower at Malone Hood Plaza after her.

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