BRIEF HISTORY OF UA
First Desegregation Attempt
Autherine J. Lucy, the University's first black student,
attended her first class on February 3, 1956, and was suspended
three days later "for her own safety" in response to threats
from a mob consisting of both University students and non-students
from the surrounding community. Lucy's attorney, Arthur Shores,
demanded her immediate reinstatement and took the matter to court
when that demand was not met, charging that University officials
and trustees had "conspired to defy the injunction order"
and had "intentionally permitted an air of riot and discord"
as a basis for Lucy's suspension. President O. C. Carmichael denied
any wrongdoing, and Shores later dropped the conspiracy charge.
In January 1957, the U.S. District Court ordered the
University to readmit Lucy but found that the institution had not
been derelict in its duties to protect her. The UA board of trustees
immediately voted to permanently expel Lucy on the grounds that
she had libeled the University with "wholly false, defamatory"
remarks. They also permanently expelled student Leonard Wilson,
the outspoken leader of anti-integration forces on campus, for "unwarranted
and outrageous public attacks ... upon the integrity of the President
and officers of the University."
back to Brief History