The trustees reversed a February 3 decision to name the building Lucy-Graves Hall after its first Black student and civil rights activist Autherine Lucy Foster and Bibb Graves, a former Alabama governor and a Ku Klux Klan leader.
Students, faculty and community members cried out, saying it was wrong to recognize the legacy of these two people in one building.
“Somehow, the honoring of Autherine Lucy Foster sort of took the background and that’s not what we wanted,” England said. “We’ve heard enough from people whose opinion matter to us — students, faculty, staff — that we can do that in a better way than what we’ve done.”
The board’s priority was to honor Foster, the release said. “Unfortunately, the complex legacy of Governor Graves has distracted from that important priority,” it read.
She took shelter in the School of Education Library after university officials helped her escape. The board of trustees then suspended and expelled her.
Decades later, Foster enrolled at the university’s College of Education in 1989 and earned her master’s degree in education in 1991.
The civil rights activist and education leader had an endowed scholarship named after her by the university, which is given to a Black undergraduate student yearly. A clock tower was dedicated to her in 2010. In 2019, Foster received an honorary doctorate from the University of Alabama.
A sign outside the building has been updated to say Autherine Lucy Hall, according to Lynn Cole, the director of system communications.
The name change on the limestone building should be done in a couple weeks, she added.