Sunday, September 06, 2009

Autherine Lucy: The Ladylike Heroine of 1956

Time and Again as they say. I snapped up a copy of the Middletown Press from March 2 1956 at the flea market today. I love reading these old papers to gain perspective. Its easy to forget nowadays there really was much to fear for a black woman even in the best country on Earth once upon a time.

Miss Autherine Lucy went to court with no less than Thurgood Marshall as her lawyer and won the right to attend the University of Alabama in
Lucy v. Adams. A racist, angry mob though did not allow her to attend. The punks literally chased her away and the bad guys won for a while. The school justified her continued expultion because they "could not guarantee her saftey".

It was not for nothing however. Miss Lucy made the first step and it was important. There is a very nice write up on her story on

The victory for the bad guys did not endure. The bad guys became good guys. In 1980 the University overturned her expulsion of its own accord and Autherine Lucy-Foster graduated in 1992 earning her Masters degree in Elementary Education. Her daughter also graduated.

According to Wikipedia the University named an endowed scholarship in Mrs. Foster's honor. They also unveiled a portrait of her which "overlooks the most trafficked spot on campus. The inscription on it reads "
Her initiative and courage won the right for students of all races to attend the University".

Autherine Lucy Foster will celebrate her 80th birthday on Oct 5th.



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