Superintendent updates board on school enrollment and student and employee absenteeism

The Greene County Board of Education held its regular monthly meeting Monday, December 12, 2022, one week early due to Christmas holidays. The school system will closed Friday, December 16 and re-open Tuesday, January 3, 2023 for a Professional Development Day. Students return to classes on January 5.
Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones open his report to the board with an update on local school enrollment. As of December 12, Eutaw Primary has 275 scholars enrolled, not including the pre-K class. This is 22 students less than last year at this time. Robert Brown Middle has 340 scholars enrolled, nine more than last year; and Greene County High has 874 scholars enrolled, 16 less than the previous year. Jones noted that there are various factors that account the enrollment numbers, mainly that the county as a whole is losing population.
Dr. Jones then informed the board that the system is currently monitoring absenteeism of students and employees on a weekly basis. He presented this as an additional approach toward accountability. He noted that there are more absentees of students and teachers on a Friday. “I am directing my principals to monitor all attendance on a daily basis and submit weekly reports. We have procedures for monitoring student attendance, including conversations and home visits with parents/guardians by the school system’s Truancy Officer. The principals work directly with teachers regarding attendance issues” he stated. Jones said that the Career Center has the lowest absentee rates of students and employees.
Board member Robert Davis inquired as to student absence following the recent Tornado, which left approximately 15 families homeless. Superintendent Jones responded that excused absences are noted in the record and the school system will be assisting those displaced scholars.
Dr. Jones listed positive news for each of the district schools. Eutaw Primary scholars are currently in the process of completing the Aimsweb Assessment for mid year. Educators will utilize the data to plan whole group and small group instruction.
Robert Brown Middle School Girls Basketball Team is on the road to an undefeated season. So far they have won every game this season.
Greene County High School has 92% of scholars passing the Civics Exam on the first attempt, a requirement for graduation. The remaining scholars will test again on Thursday, Dec. 15. GCHS has exited Comprehensive Support and Improvement School (CSI), which means the high school no longer falls within the bottom 6% of Title I schools within the state’s accountability system.
The board approved the following personnel items recommended by the superintendent.
* School nurses receive payment to service students involved in extracurricular activities for 2022-2023 school year as needed.
* Ms. Dorthea Smith, long-term substitute teacher, 7th/8th grade Science.
FMLA Maternity Leave and Catastrophic leave for Demilia Snyder effective December 13, 2022.
The board the approved the following administrative items recommended by the superintendent.
* Payment of all bills, claims and payroll.
* Bank reconciliations as submitted by Ms. Marquita Lennon, CSFO.
* Contract between Greene County Board of Education and Imagine Learning, for 2022-2023 School term.
* Authorization between Greene County Board of Education and Encourage ACT, for School District.
* Contract between Greene County Board of Education and Triumph Learning.
* Contract between Greene County Board of Education and Nearpod Support License Renewal.
* Contract between Greene County Board of Education and Albireo Energy Service and Support Agreement Renewal.
* Contract between Greene County Board of Education and Sophos Antivirus Software Renewal.
* Extension of contract for Mrs. Evelyn James to consult/assist on an as needed basis until the end of fiscal year 2023.
* Encourage ACT-Resources to connect students with colleges and Universities Nation Wide.

Newswire : Brittney Griner Freed

Brittney Griner
President Biden at White House speaks with Cherrelle Griner , with VP Kamala Harris and SOS Anthony Blinken

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

After 294 days in Russian custody, including the past several weeks in a dreaded and dangerous penal colony, WNBA star Brittney Griner is free.
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris met with Griner’s wife at the White House, where they spoke with the basketball player on the telephone.
“She’s safe. She’s on a plane. She is on her way home,” Biden declared. The Biden administration secured Griner’s release after agreeing to a one-for-one prisoner swap that saw the president commute the 25-year sentence of notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.
The White House said it would continue efforts to bring home retired U.S. military officer Paul Whelan, who remains in Russian custody. Whelan has been imprisoned in Russia for nearly four years, and, recently, his family said they hadn’t heard from him. They were told he was transferred to a hospital, but the family doubted that explanation.
The deal to release Griner was consummated a week ago in the United Arab Emirates. Biden said Griner’s expected home in the U. S, at a military base in San Antonio , Texas for a medical review and debriefing.
“It’s a good morning,” the president exclaimed at a news conference where Vice President Kamala Harris and Griner’s wife, Cherelle, stood close. “After months of being unjustly detained and held under intolerable circumstances, she’s coming home,” Biden asserted.
The president said his administration “never stopped pushing for her release.” “It took painstaking and intense negotiations for her release,” Biden stated. He thanked the UAE for helping to facilitate Griner’s release and noted that’s where her plane landed after finally leaving Russia.

Biden noted that the past few months had been “hell” for Griner and her family. He said she’s in good spirits and relieved. “She lost months of her life,” Biden stated.
He said she deserves space, privacy, and time to heal in a not-so-subtle appeal to media members. Biden added that Griner wrote him in July, not asking for special treatment. “She said, please don’t forget about me and the other American detainees,” Biden said.
“We have not forgotten about Brittney and Paul Whelan. Biden emphasized that the one-for-one swap wasn’t America’s choice. He said he wished to bring Whelan and any other wrongly detained American home. “We have not yet secured Paul’s release. But we have not given up, and we will never give up,” Biden insisted.
“We’ll keep negotiating for Paul’s release in good faith. I urge Russia to do the same. My administration has brought home dozens of wrongly detained Americans and many who were detained before I took office,” Biden continued.
“Reunited Americans with their loved ones remain a priority. We will continue to work to bring home every American who endures such injustice.”
Cherelle Griner called Brittney’s plight one of the darkest moments of her life.
“Over the last nine months, you all have been privy to one of the darkest moments of my life. I’m overwhelmed with emotion but sincere gratitude to President Biden and his administration,” Cherelle Griner stated.
“Today, my family is whole. As you are aware, there are so many families who are not whole. BG and I will remain committed to the work of getting every American home, including Paul, who remains in our hearts.”
As expected, civil rights activists, many in the sports world, and politicians applauded Griner’s release.
“This is long overdue,” Rev. Jesse Jackson declared. “This is a cause for global celebration and could be a step toward peace. Releasing prisoners and prisoner swaps as opposed to more bombing and killing is good news,” Jackson stated.
And fellow Democratic Texas Rep. Colin Allred called Griner’s release a relief.“Brittney Griner is coming home. This is a huge relief for Brittney and her family after months of uncertainty,” Allred said.
“I commend President Biden, Secretary [Antony] Blinken, the State Department, and all those who made this happen. We remain committed to getting every American detained abroad back home.”
The Black Press of America also saluted the Biden administration’s efforts in bringing Griner home. “The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) profoundly welcomes the release of Brittney Griner from a Russian prison,” NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. stated.
The NNPA is the trade association of more than 230 African American-owned newspapers and media companies in the United States. “Brittney Griner was a political prisoner,” continued Chavis, the leader of the famed Wilmington 10, also political prisoners. “Thanks to the effective leadership of President Joe Biden, our beloved sister is now free,” Chavis declare

Newswire:Dusty Baker relishes first World Series title with Houston Astros, despite no Black players on either team

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Dusty Baker, Manager Houston Astros

One week after lamenting that there were no Black American players on either the Philadelphia Phillies or his Houston Astros in the World Series, Dusty Baker became only the third African American manager to lead a Major League Baseball team to a World Series title.
Cito Gaston of the Toronto Blue Jays, who won back-to-back World Series titles in 1992 and 1993, and Dave Roberts, who led the Los Angeles Dodgers to the championship in 2020, are the only other Black managers to capture the Fall Classic.
Baker’s Astros dispatched the Philadelphia Phillies in six games, sending the city of Houston into a frenzy just five years after the team’s tainted World Series victory in 2017 under manager A.J. Hinch.
“I’m tired of hearing it,” Baker proclaimed after the Astros series clinching a 4-1 victory in Houston on November 5. “[Critics said] ‘He doesn’t do this; he doesn’t do that.’ All I heard about what I can’t do,” Baker stated. “But my mom and dad taught me perseverance. And you gotta persevere, you gotta believe in yourself.”
Born in 1949, Baker broke into the big leagues as a 19-year-old when he joined the Atlanta Braves in 1968. In a stellar career that spanned three decades, Baker was as feared a hitter as anyone. He earned two All-Star nods, won the Silver Slugger Award for best hitter at his position twice, and finished in the top 10 in the MVP race twice. Baker also won a Gold Glove and was part of the 1981 Dodgers team that defeated the New York Yankees in six games to win the World Series.
He managed the San Francisco Giants, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs, and Washington Nationals. Each team improved under his leadership.
Before winning the World Series, Baker noticed that the 2022 Fall Classic stood out as the first since 1950 that didn’t have an African American on either team.
“Nah, don’t tell me that,” Baker lamented.
“That’s terrible for the state of the game. Wow! Terrible. I’m ashamed of the game. Quote me. I am ashamed of the game,” reaffirmed Baker, an African American.
While Black players made up about 18 percent of all MLB rosters when researchers from TIDES first began assessing the league’s demographic data in 1991, Black players represented only 7.2 percent of all MLB players at the start of the 2022 season.
Researchers at TIDES – The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports – reported that the percentage of Black players “has been a serious concern for many years.”
TIDES reported that 38 percent of all players on Opening Day 2022 were players of color – approximately 28.5 percent Hispanic or Latino, 1.9 percent Asian, and less than 1 percent Hawaiian/Pacific Islander or Native American.
“Well, I don’t think that’s something that baseball should really be proud of,” Baker said. “It looks bad. It lets people know that it didn’t take a year, or even a decade, to get to this point.”
A baseball lifer, Baker has done all he could to make the sport look good.
Now enjoying his first World Series victory as a manager, Baker, 73, said he’d not only like to win a second before he retires, but he’ll continue to work to ensure more diversity in future Fall Classic games.
“I’m just grateful, really, for the trials and tribulations you go through to get to this and just grateful for my mom and dad for being tough on me,” Baker said.
“Also grateful for some of the enemies that helped motivate me to get to this point, you know what I mean? But, you know, with no malice or anything because that doesn’t do any good.”

Greene County Schools welcome scholars and parents for new academic year

Shown above Greene County Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones with Eutaw Primary School Principal Brittany Harris,  touring the school and making sure everything is up to code to welcome students back next week.

The Greene County 2022-2023 School calendar states that the new school term begins Thursday, August 4 with a Virtual Teacher Institute from 8:00 -11:30 am, however, school personnel have been preparing all summer to welcome scholars with an exciting and challenging academic curriculum as well as supporting extra curricula activities. Friday, August 5, is scheduled as professional development day with continuing classroom preparations on the following Monday. Students return to classes on Tuesday, August 9, 2022.
Eutaw Primary School Principal Brittany Harris extends the following welcome to faculty, scholars and parents. “Eutaw Primary School is such an exciting place that’s full of adventures. This year, join the educators at Eutaw Primary School as we go through the jungle, underneath the big top, under the sea, through the forest and outer space. This is sure to be an exciting learning adventure that our scholars will never forget.
“Parents, we encourage you to attend our Open House and Meet & Greet. On August 4, 2022 all kindergarten and first grade scholars and parents are encouraged to meet their child’s teacher from 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. On August 8, 2022 all second and third grade scholars and parents are encouraged to meet their child’s teacher from 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. We look forward to seeing each of our scholars and parents”
Robert Brown Principal Shawnta Owens extends a similar welcome to the school community.
“Welcome Back.  As we embark on this new school year, Robert Brown Middle School’s faculty and staff look forward to new faces, new opportunities, and new ways to meet the needs of our scholars. Parents, thank you for trusting us with your children, and we look forward to your participation throughout the school year. Please support our RBMS scholars with your presence and positivity, and always remember, “It’s a great day to be a T.I.G.E.R.” 
This enthusiastic welcome comes from Greene County High School Principal Andrea Perry. “As the 2022-2023 school year begins, I am excited to welcome back our faculty, scholars and parents as we kick off a great year. I hope everyone has had an exciting summer and is recharged and ready for a new year. I am privileged to serve as Principal of Greene County High School. Our focus this year is to change the culture and build healthy relationships while improving student achievement. Parents, we look forward to partnering with you to ensure our scholars receive an exceptional education. We are even more excited to work with you and invite you into a climate of smiling faces and open arms. We are committed to ensuring your children receive the best education.”
Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones offers his special welcome to our school community. “Welcome back. We hope everyone had a great summer and is excited to be back. Our district faced many challenges this past year, but our scholars and staff experienced great success even with these obstacles. This was due to the hard work of our scholars and staff. The safety of our scholars and staff continues to be our school district’s priority. Our goal is that Greene County provides the best education for our scholars in a safe environment. We are excited to work with you to provide an excellent educational experience for our scholars. Thank you for everything you do as we continue to strive for excellence. Soaring to Excellence will not only continue to be our brand, but our crowning achievement in Greene County. Let’s make it a great year.”
Please note that masks are required for everyone in the school system. Detailed information on student uniform requirements is available on the school system’s website and in the Greene County Democrat newspaper. Parents/guardians may also contact the central office personnel regarding uniform requirements.
The Greene County Children’s Policy Council and the Greene County School System’s At-Risk Department are sponsoring a Back-To-School Rally and Anti-Bullying Rally on Sunday, August 7.  There will be various speakers, food, and school supplies will be given out.  The rally will be held downtown Eutaw on the Thomas E. Gilmore Square (old courthouse square) from 4:00 p.m. until 6:30 p.m.

Newswire: What is the Biden Administration doing to free Brittney Griner?

By Zack Linly, NewsOne

WNBA basketball superstar Brittney Griner arrives at a hearing at the Khimki Court outside Moscow on June 27, 2022. ( Source: KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV / Getty)

Here’s a thought: Why is Brittney Griner still in jail and what is the Biden administration doing about bringing her home?
Griner has been locked up in a Russian jail since February for allegedly possessing vape cartridges that contained hashish oil. It took until May for the State Department to classify her “wrongfully detained,” which meant the U.S. could expand its efforts to bring her home despite the law in Russia. So, it took more than three months just for our government to grant her the classification needed to really begin efforts to bring her back to the U.S.
And yet, nearly every time there’s an update on Griner’s situation, it’s a story about her detention being extended or her wife, Cherelle Griner, urging Joe Biden to take swifter action or the government claiming her release is a “top priority” but not saying much else about what’s being done. (Meanwhile, the administration has announced the prisoner exchange of Trevor Reed, a former Marine from Texas who allegedly assaulted a Russian officer arresting him in 2019. This, of course, only increased public outcry for Griner’s release.)
In fact, throughout all of this, Biden has claimed his administration has been working tirelessly to bring Griner back to the states, but where’s the evidence of this great effort?
According to the New York Times, last week, “dozens of organizations representing people of color, women and L.G.B.T.Q. voters called on President Biden” by sending him a letter urging him to finally strike a deal for the WNBA star’s release.
From the Times: In a letter sent to Mr. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, the groups said Ms. Griner “continues to endure inhumane treatment, deprived of contact with her family.”
The letter said the United States “has acknowledged that Brittney is essentially a political pawn in classifying her as wrongfully detained.” And while the signatories cited “deep appreciation” for the administration’s efforts to free Ms. Griner, “we now urge you to make a deal to get Brittney back home to America immediately and safely.”
 Cherelle praised the letter while also noting that she doesn’t believe any negotiations for her wife’s release have taken place at all.
“To my understanding, they have not started negotiating her release, and so this letter is very powerful because it’s much-needed support to highlight the fact that we are at the phase where you guys should be making a deal,” Cherelle said.
Meanwhile, Griner is finally scheduled for a trial date this Friday., July 1, 2022. She’s facing up to 10 years if convicted.

A letter from Uvalde, Texas about the school shooting

By: Sarah Hidalgo-Cook

Editors note: I have visited Uvalde, Texas some years ago with the Rural Development Leadership Network (RDLN), a non-traditional leadership education and certification program for rural leaders. One of the leaders sent this statement about the school shooting and gave us permission to print it.


 It rained all night in Uvalde (we really needed).  I have decided that Jesus wept with us last night.  He washed away the sadness and ugliness of our day yesterday.  We at my agency, Southwest Area Rural Transit -SWART, are all well and very lucky, as we had one of our staff whose son attended Robb Elementary and was in the 4th grade.  He was safe but I pray that the after effects of this tragedy is something he can overcome in time. 

My husband, Kevin, is very sad this morning as I am.  His grand-great nephew’s daughter Ellie was one that was killed yesterday.  She was in the classroom in which the shooter entered.  It took over 8 hours before he had confirmation of her death as DNA had to be used to determine who she was, as was the same with other victims.  

I was born and raised in Uvalde, Texas. My home growing up, where my father still lives, is three blocks from Robb School. I walked home from Robb every day with my childhood friends. At that time, the 70’s, the school did not have security fencing or even enclosed classrooms. The classrooms were open to outside. If you walked out the door, you were stepping into the elements.

As I sat at my desk that Tuesday dealing with normal SWART issues, I heard the sirens. Our community has daily car chases and bailouts because of the illegal activity stemming from the influx of immigration, since we are thirty miles from the border with Mexico. When the realization of an active shooter at one of the schools became a reality, our minds were reeling.

The chaos continues. We are bombarded by media, state and national politicians, Hollywood, and others who do not really share our heartache. I knew only one victim personally. — Ellie Garcia, our great-grand niece. We would run into her and her family in the grocery store or see her on her parents’ Facebook videos and picture. We are heartbroken and feel so much sadness for her parents Steven & Jen, and her four sisters. I also know an aunt or uncle, grandmother or grandfather, or extended family member of the other beautiful souls who were taken too soon.

As recently as a week ago, we saw many of these young girls playing softball. We love to watch the sport, which reminds me of when our girls played. My heart aches for what they must have endured in those last moments and for what their parents and families must endure from now on. I am also angry!

“Not in my town. Not in my elementary school. Not to my people.” That is what my heart is telling me. I know that we are in for years of anguish. This is a wake-up call for our community and other rural communities everywhere. When the media is gone and we are left alone to face this nightmare, we will need to lean on each other more than ever. We will need to lean on our faith in God. Uvaldeans are my people. This is my home. We have always been resilient, but we will never, ever be the same.

Sarah Hidalgo-Cook MSCD, CCTM
General Manager
Southwest Area Regional Transit District

Greene County High School -Hair Show

Are you ready to be WOWED and AMAZED?  Well if so come out and support the cosmetology department as they present Hair Show 2022.  This show will consist of three categories: candyland, the 90’s, and fantasy as well as other entertainment. This event will be held Friday, May 6th at 5p.m, at Greene County High School.  The admission is $10.  There will also be a silent auction for a barbeque grill constructed by the welding department under the instruction of Mr. Zachary Rutledge.
Bidding will start at $100.00 and the grill will be on display in the foyer of Greene County High School from May 4th – 6th for bidding.
The winner will be announced at the end of the hair show.
Thank you for your support.
Ms. Paula Calligan, Cosmetology Instructor
Greene County Career Center
14223 US Hwy 11 South
Eutaw, Al 35462

Superintendent presents spotlight on Career Center programs; highlights positive news in school system

At the Greene County Board of Education’s monthly meeting, held Monday, April 18, 2022, Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones, as part of his report, called on Ms. Teresa Atkins, Greene County Career Center Director, to present a comprehensive report on the various courses and programs available to students at the Career Center. Ms. Atkins noted that the most effective message of the Career Center is Preparation for the Real World. The overall goal is to prepare well-rounded students for college, careers or the military.
In her presentation, Ms. Atkins spotlighted the following offerings: Health Science, Cosmetology, Industrial Maintenance, Business, Career Preparedness, and JROTC. In addition to these, the Career Center offers Dual Enrollment courses in HVAC and Welding, through an arrangement with Wallace Community College Selma. She explained that the dual enrollment program gives students the opportunity “…to gain a jump start on the college experience.” This affords students the opportunity to receive the Associate Degree as well as High School Graduation certification.
The preparations at the Career Center emphasize real-world skills, mentoring, and internships. This includes a focus on preparing students to earn national credentials in various career areas.
Career Tech Student Organizations include active chapters in HOSA, Skills USA, FBLA and DECA.
Continuing his report, Dr. Jones highlighted more positive news in the school system. These are featured below.
The Technology Department has launched a new Mass Notification system with Blackboard. This system provides a more personalized way of communicating by sending messages to specific audiences. Stakeholders can receive messages simultaneously via phone calls, email, text messages and social media. The system also includes a feature to notify a parent once his/her child receives an unexcused absence in Power School.
The Special Education Department attended and participated in Noah J 2nd Annual Autism Awareness Festival, Saturday, April 16, 2022.
Eutaw Primary School completed ACAP testing on April 14, 2022. AIMSWEB-Scholars will be tested in various domains related to reading and math beginning April 25, 2022. May Day Celebration is tentatively set for the week of May 16, 2022. Scholars will be celebrated for their accomplishments during the 4th Nine Weeks.
Robert Brown Middle School (P.A.W.S.) Parents Always Willing To Support nominees will be highlighted in newspapers and will receive certificates and gifts. On April 18, Greene County High School scholars spoke to RBMS students to stress importance of the ACAP test. Test Taking Pep Rally Scranton Scholars and ACAP All-Stars will be recognized and GCH band will participate. RBMS P.T.A. meeting is scheduled for April 28.
Greene County High School Debate Team completed its final competition in Fairhope, AL. Jaila Brooks finishes her senior year with a total of four awards, three in first place. The GCHS Track Team is back. The boys competed at Central High School and performed well. The next track meet is April21, 2022. The Athletic Banquet was held April 14. Praise report from Program Manager from ACCESS: 30 students from GCH have a score of 70 or higher and is actively working in their ACCESS course. On April 15, Mu Alpha Theta (18 students ) traveled to Georgia to visit Great Wolf Lodge and Dave and Buster. Individual conferences have been scheduled with students to select courses for 2022-2023 school year. Eleventh grade students participated in ACT on March 29-31, 2022, with only two make-ups for 100% completion.
Dr. Jones also announced that the Alabama Legislature has passed a 4% pay raise for all employees, effective October 1, 2022. This is combined with a new salary schedule which will affect most school employees.
Superintendent Jones noted that the school system is coordinating efforts to assist the students whose families were affected by the recent tornado that hit the William M. Branch Heights community. He said buses will be re-routed to accommodate students who have been placed with their families in local hotels and other locations. Uniform dress requirements for those students have been suspended for the remainder of this school year. Other assistance that the school system can provide will be forthcoming.
The board approved the following personnel items recommended by the superintendent.
One-time supplemental payment for Janice Jeames Askew for additional duties Greene County High School.
One-time supplemental payment for Rosalyn Robinson for additional duties at Robert Brown Middle School.
The board approved the following administrative items:
* Payment of all bills, claims, and payroll.
* Bank reconciliations as submitted by Ms. Marquita Lennon, CSFO.
* Memorandum of Agreement between Greene County Board of Education and Community Service Program of West Alabama, Inc. Head Start/Early Head Start.
* Resolution for Conveyance of Birdine Property to Town of Forkland.

The One Book- One Community Reading a Huge Success

The “Read Greene Read” held its first One Book- One Community reading on March 2, 2022. The guest artists were local author Jocelyn Steel and illustrator Mynecia Steele. Jocelyn Steele read and discussed her book “The Square Nose Pig.” The event was held via Zoom. Over 150 individuals registered for the event.

The event was sponsored by The Greene County Children’s Policy Council, The Greene County School System and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Greene County Cultured Pearls Interest Group. According to Judge Lillie Jones-Osborne the next reading will take place in May 2022 and we are inviting all of Greene Countian to join the “Read Greene Read” campaign. Pictured below are students from the Branch Heights After School Program participating in the event.

Newswire: Autherine Lucy Foster, first Black student
to attend the University of Alabama, dies at 92

Autherine Lucy Foster in wheelchair at recent ribbon cutting at naming of building at UA for her and Autherine Lucy in 1952

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
Her desire for a second undergraduate degree was cut short after just three days when a mob of racists assaulted her with food, rocks, and other items when she attempted to enter the University of Alabama.

Autherine Lucy Foster, who earned a bachelor’s degree in English from historically Black Miles College in 1952, and whose legal battle with the University of Alabama concluded two years after the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, has died at 92.

A critical, but sometimes overlooked figure in the civil rights movement, Foster’s case became the first to challenge the Brown ruling that allowed federal judges to implement the historic decision.

In 1992, Foster recalled her experience in a New York Times interview. “It felt somewhat like you were not really a human being. But had it not been for some at the university, my life might not have been spared at all,” Foster said.

“I did expect to find isolation. I thought I could survive that. But I did not expect it to go as far as it did. There were students behind me saying, ‘Let’s kill her! Let’s kill her!’”

Foster visited Tuscaloosa a week before her death, cutting the ribbon on the newly named College of Education building, where she took refuge from the racist mob.
Previously known as Bibb Graves Hall, the university’s building adopted a new name called Autherine Lucy Hall.

“My staff was proud to celebrate the courage and sacrifice of Dr. Autherine Lucy Foster by presenting her with a Congressional Record,” Alabama Democratic Rep. Terri Sewell stated.
“The naming of the University of Alabama’s Autherine Lucy Hall will stand as a powerful reminder of her sacrifice in the name of justice and equity for all.”

Foster “was the embodiment of courage,” said Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, who chairs the organization. “As the first Black student to attend the University of Alabama, her trailblazing determination paved the way for a more inclusive and equitable higher education system in Alabama. Her life was a testament to the power of compassion and grace in the face of unyielding adversity. We are all made better by her example.”

Many others tweeted and offered statements of condolences. Foster’s family asked for privacy, but they did release a statement about the trailblazer.

“She was known, honored, and respected around the world after she broke the color barrier at the University of Alabama,” her daughter Chrystal Foster said in a statement. “She passed away at home, surrounded by family. We are deeply saddened, yet we realize she left a proud legacy.”