University of Alabama: Foster Auditorium – Tuscaloosa AL

City:
Tuscaloosa, AL

Site Type:
Auditoriums and Arenas, Civic Facilities

New Deal Agency:
Public Works Administration (PWA)

Completed:
1939

Designers:
Martin & Lewis Architects, Miller

Marked:
Yes

Site Survival:
Extant

Description

The Public Works Administration (PWA) provided funding toward the construction of the University of Alabama’s Foster Auditorium.

Originally built in 1939, Foster Auditorium was named in 1942 for Richard Clarke Foster, president of the University of Alabama from 1937-41. In its original capacity, Foster served as home for intramural sports, graduations, concerts, lectures and campus meetings. It also served as the home of several varsity athletic programs over the years, including men’s basketball from 1939-68, women’s volleyball from 1974-81 and 1989-95, women’s basketball, which played selected games in Foster, from 1975-81, and gymnastics from 1975-84. Additionally, the women’s athletic program, including coaches and administrative offices, was located in Foster during the 1970/s through the early 1980’s.

The building was declared a National Historic Landmark on April 5, 2005. More than any other event, Foster Auditorium is known as the site of the “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door” incident. On June 11, 1963, Governor George C. Wallace, making good on a campaign pledge to not allow integration of the university, stood in the doorway of the building on the day of registration. He was attempting to block two black students, Vivian Malone and James Hood, from enrolling at the university. The incident is seen as one of the seminal events in the Civil Rights Movement in America.

Source notes

https://rolltide.com/sports/2016/6/10/facilities-fosterauditorium-html.aspx
https://adhc.lib.ua.edu/adhc-omekaS/s/historicalmarkers/item/64
https://visittuscaloosa.com/listing/foster-auditorium/
For more information on architects please see the National Historic Landmark Nomination Form (page 4) located at https://npgallery.nps.gov/GetAsset/0dd71f2d-89ef-4cef-89b6-14874449d453

For more information on the "Stand in the Schoolhouse Door," please see:

Carter, Dan. The Politics of Rage: George Wallace, the Origins of the New Conservatism, and the Transformation of American Politics. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995.

Clark, E. Culpepper. The Schoolhouse Door: Segregation’s Last Stand at the University of Alabama. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Lesher, Stephan. George Wallace: American Populist. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1994.

Site originally submitted by Dr. Kevin Ammons on July 24, 2022.

Location Info


801 6th Avenue
Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35401

Coordinates: 33.20777, -87.54399

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