An academic building at the University of Alabama will soon share its name with a Ku Klux Klan member and a woman who became the first Black person to enroll at the school in 1956. Graves Hall, the building which is currently named after the controversial figure, Bibb Graves, will now include the name of trailblazer Autherine Lucy Foster, U.S. News reports

Trustees deliberated during a meeting on Thursday and voted to change the building's name to Lucy-Graves Hall.

Graves is a former governor who also led the KKK in the late 1920s. Some credit Graves for serving as an effective governor who strengthened education in Alabama. However, several schools have removed his name from their buildings in recent years, following the nationwide effort to dismantle symbols of oppression. 

The Crimson White, the student newspaper at the University of Alabama, published an editorial to condemn the school for still recognizing Graves on an academic building.

“Graves’ Klan membership was a convenient stepping stone in his political career. He shed his white robes once they no longer suited his political purpose. While he became known as one of the most progressive governors in the South, his ability to do so came with the endorsement of a white supremacist organization,” the editorial stated.

Foster was expelled three days after she started attending classes at the university in the 1950s. Protesters threatened the Black student and demanded for her to be removed from the school. Foster returned to the school in the 1990s and and earned a masters degree in education. She also received an honorary doctorate from the university in 2019.

The 92-year-old expressed gratitude for the school after learning about the new name for the building.

“I am so grateful to all who think that this naming opportunity has the potential to motivate and encourage others to embrace the importance of education, and to have the courage to commit to things that seek to make a difference in the lives of others,” she said in statement.

John England Jr., who served as chair of a group that considered renaming Graves Hall, said members considered all arguments before making the change.

"Some say he did more to directly benefit African American Alabamians than any other governor through his reform. Unfortunately, that same Governor Graves was associated with the Ku Klux Klan. Not just associated with the Ku Klux Klan, but a Grand Cyclops – It’s hard for me to even say those words,” England told U.S. News.