COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The University of South Carolina has hired internationally acclaimed sculptor Basil Watson to cast a bronze statue inspired by the first Black students admitted to the university since Reconstruction.

Robert Anderson, Henrie Monteith Treadwell and James Solomon Jr. stepped through the doors of the school’s Osborne Administration building on Sept. 11, 1963, and into history for their role in the desegregation of higher education in the state. Nearly 60 years later, the university is recognizing their efforts, the school said in a news release Friday.

The 12-foot bronze statue, which will stand atop a granite base, was inspired by an-iconic 1963 photograph of the three students walking down the steps. Next fall, it will be permanently installed near where they were photographed, the school said.

The Jamaican-born sculptor’s public commissions include Britain’s National Windrush Monument, which honors a generation of Caribbean migrants, and Jamaica’s To the World, a tribute to record-shattering sprinter Usain Bolt.

Board member Alex English said Watson has “a gift for capturing historical and emotional power in sculpture.”

“The design … represents a very powerful and formidable accomplishment in African Americans’ quest for equality and justice,” he said.

Treadwell sued for the right to enroll at the school, and it was that lawsuit that made the moment possible for all three students, the university said.

The statue, Treadwell said, is an opportunity to acknowledge everyone who sought to desegregate Southern universities after the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling.

“I hope that alumni, faculty, students will continue to think of ways of permanently recognizing the value of what has been done on that campus,” Treadwell said. “People must understand that my walking across that threshold was not the end of the story. My walking across that threshold was the beginning of a story.”

The statue will complement a desegregation garden on campus that was dedicated in 2013 to commemorate the students’ acts.