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Miles College to honor Autherine Lucy Foster, alumna and first Black UA student

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Miles College will honor Autherine Lucy Foster, an alum of Miles and the first black student to attend the University of Alabama. (Provided Photo)
The Birmingham Times

Miles College will honor Autherine Lucy Foster an alumna and the first African American to enroll and attend the University of Alabama this week with an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.

The invitation-only ceremony will be held on Wednesday, August 19 at 11 a.m. in the Brown Hall Auditorium.

“It is with great honor that we award Mrs. Foster with an honorary degree from the same college she graduated decades ago,” said Bobbie Knight, President of Miles College. “We recognize and embrace the significant contribution she has made in America’s history, and we believe she embodies the true spirit of a Milean. In honoring her with this degree, we are expressing our appreciation, and we are sending a message to our student body that following one’s dreams, against all odds, leads to great things.”

Born on October 5, 1929, in Shiloh, Alabama, Foster attended Miles College and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in English in 1952.

This is Foster’s second honorary doctorate degree from an institution in the state of Alabama. The University of Alabama last year awarded her with a Doctor of Humane Letters as well.

Foster enrolled in the all-white University of Alabama in 1956 but was expelled because threats were made against her life, and riots broke out in resistance to her presence on campus. Years later, the university annulled the expulsion, and soon after, Foster enrolled and graduated from the graduate program in Education.

“Mrs. Autherine Lucy Foster is a living legend and trailblazer,” said Bishop Theresa Jefferson-Snorton, chairman of the Miles College Board of Trustees. “Her courage as a young adult and throughout her life is evidence of faith, tenaciousness, and determination. We are all beneficiaries of the sacrifices she made to breakdown racial barriers in education.”