The University of Alabama

Malone-Hood Plaza, Autherine Lucy Clock Tower at UA’s Foster Auditorium to be Dedicated Nov. 3

Note to editors and news directors: Media who wish to cover the events on Nov. 3 are required to contact the UA Office of University Relations by Oct. 29 to request media credentials and parking information. Phone 205/348-5320 or e-mail Cathy Andreen at candreen@ur.ua.edu or Bill McDaniel at bmcdaniel@ur.ua.edu. A media availability with Foster, Hood and a member of Jones’ family is scheduled immediately following the panel discussion in the Ferguson Center Forum.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama will pay tribute to Autherine Lucy Foster, James Hood and the late Vivian Malone Jones, the three African-American students whose enrollment represented UA’s first steps toward desegregation, at the dedication of the Malone-Hood Plaza and Autherine Lucy Clock Tower at Foster Auditorium on Nov. 3.

UA students, faculty and staff will join Foster, Hood and their families, and Jones’ family, for the dedication ceremony at 1 p.m. in the Malone-Hood Plaza. Coresa Nancy Hogan, president of UA’s Black Student Union, and James Fowler, SGA president, will co-host the event. A live webcast of the ceremony will be available on the UA website at www.ua.edu.

The public is invited to a 2 p.m. celebration at the plaza, hosted by UA’s Black Faculty and Staff Association and including musical performances at 2, 2:30 and 3 p.m.

The day’s events will begin with a panel discussion at 9 a.m. in Ferguson Center, featuring Foster, Hood and Jones’ brother and sister, Elvin Malone and Dr. Sharon Malone Holder. Dr. E. Culpepper Clark, former dean of the UA College of Communication and Information Sciences and author of the book, “The Schoolhouse Door: Segregation’s Last Stand at The University of Alabama,” will moderate the discussion. Students, faculty and staff are invited to attend the panel discussion to hear history discussed by the people who made it.

Background

In 1956, Autherine Lucy took the first steps toward the desegration of The University of Alabama, becoming the first African-American student to be accepted and enrolled. Because of significant unrest on campus, her initial enrollment lasted only three days. After the UA administration told her that the school could no longer protect her, she was suspended and later expelled.

Successful desegregation at UA did not happen until June 11, 1963, the day Vivian Malone and James Hood were to enroll. Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace stationed himself in the doorway of Foster Auditorium in an unsuccessful attempt to block the two students from gaining entry. Acting on the authority of President John F. Kennedy, U.S. Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach, accompanied by federal marshals and the Alabama National Guard, confronted Wallace and asked him to allow Malone and Hood to enter. Wallace refused.

When Attorney General Robert Kennedy learned of Wallace’s refusal to allow the students inside Foster Auditorium, he authorized sending the National Guard to remove Wallace. In the face of these officers, Wallace complied and stepped aside. Malone and Hood enrolled without further incident. While Hood transferred to another university shortly afterward, Malone became the first African-American student to earn a degree from UA in 1965.

The Board of Trustees overturned Autherine Lucy Foster’s expulsion in 1988. A year later, she again enrolled at the University, joining her daughter, Grazia Foster, who was also a student at the Capstone at the time. They graduated together in 1992 with Autherine earning a master’s degree in elementary education and Grazia earning a bachelor’s degree in corporate finance.

The University has continued to make significant progress in diversity since that time. Minority undergraduate enrollment has risen 70 percent in the past two decades and minority graduate enrollment has climbed 140 percent. At present, African-American students represent more than 12.4 percent of UA’s student body.

The Malone-Hood Plaza and Autherine Lucy Clock Tower

In developing plans to commemorate and honor the legacy of Foster, Hood and Jones, UA administrators invited feedback from faculty, staff, students and the community. The thoughtful and heartfelt responses that were received, both from open forums and written messages, provided many excellent ideas and were responsible for revisions to the original plans for Malone-Hood Plaza, including the Autherine Lucy Clock Tower. The 40-foot-tall brick tower, with open arches and four large bronze plaques at its base, tells the story of Autherine Lucy Foster, James Hood and Vivian Malone Jones and the courage they displayed in breaking down barriers and in opening doors.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.