The University of Alabama Board of Trustees voted unanimously Friday to remove the name of a former Ku Klux Klan leader from a campus building and rename it for the first Black student to attend the institution, The Hill reported.
The College of Education building will now be called Autherine Lucy Hall, after Autherine Lucy Foster, who attended three days of classes in 1956 before riots over her admission prompted her suspension. She returned to the university in 1988, graduating with a master's degree in 1992, The Hill reported.
Previously the building was called Graves Hall, named for two-term Alabama governor Bibb Graves, who also headed up a Montgomery chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, according to WVTM.
Initially, the board planned to honor Foster by joining her name with Graves’s, so the building would be called Lucy-Graves Hall, the university announced on Feb. 3, the 66th anniversary of Foster’s enrollment. But after an outcry from students, faculty, staff and alumni, the board changed course, opting instead to use Foster’s name alone.
“Well, somehow the honoring of Autherine Lucy Foster sort of took the background and that’s not what we wanted,” Trustee John England Jr. told The Crimson White, the student newspaper. “We recognize it’s never too late to make the right decision.”