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Guide to the Marcus A. Foster Collection
MS 149  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Access Restrictions
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing Information
  • Biography / Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Marcus A. Foster Collection
    Dates: 1941-1975 (bulk 1968-1974)
    Collection number: MS 149
    Creator: Marcus A. Foster Education Institute
    Collection Size: 5.5 linear feet (1 box + 2 oversized boxes)
    Repository: African American Museum & Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.)
    Oakland, CA 94612
    Abstract: The Marcus A. Foster was a a progressive, innovative educator who rose to national prominence as the first African-American superintendent of schools in Oakland, California. The collection spans the years 1941-1975, and includes administrative documents, professional certifications, printed materials, photographs, newspaper articles and ceremonial attire, with the bulk of the material pertaining to the years 1968-1974.
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

    Access

    No access restrictions to the Marcus Foster Collection. Collection is open to the public.

    Access Restrictions

    Materials are for use in-library only, non-circulating.

    Publication Rights

    Permission to publish must be obtained from the African American Museum & Library at Oakland.

    Preferred Citation

    Marcus A. Foster Collection, MS149, African American Museum & Library at Oakland, Oakland Public Library. Oakland, California.

    Acquisition Information

    Collection donated to the African American Museum & Library at Oakland by the Marcus A. Foster Educational Institute.

    Processing Information

    Processed by John Hickman, April 29th, 2014. Finding aid updated to add OM box numbers by Sean Heyliger on April 21, 2017.

    Biography / Administrative History

    Educator Dr. Marcus A. Foster (1923-1973) was born in Athens, Georgia in 1923, the youngest of 5 children. His family moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania when he was 3 years old. There he attended Philadelphia public schools, graduating from South Philadelphia High School in 1941. He earned degrees from Cheyney State College, Lincoln University, St. Joseph's College and the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned his doctorate in 1971.
    Dr. Foster began his career as principal of Simon Gratz High School in Philadelphia, and later became Associate Superintendent of Schools in Philadelphia where he was in charge of community relations. Dr. Foster moved to Oakland, California in 1970, and became Oakland's first African-American superintendent that same year. He had a strong belief in community involvement, and as superintendent he implemented a Master Plan Citizen’s Committee and decentralized the Oakland Public School system by dividing the city into 3 regions. In 1973, he founded the Oakland Education Institute, whose purpose was to raise discretionary funds to promote excellence in Oakland schools. After his death the institute was renamed the Marcus A. Foster Educational Institute in his honor. Dr. Foster was assassinated November 6, 1973 by members of the Symbionese Liberation Army following an evening meeting of the Oakland School Board.
    Through his life Dr. Foster rose to national prominence as a progressive, innovative educator, who was known as a leader who challenged entrenched educational principles and displayed great ability in developing effective solutions by getting people of diverse interests to work together for the benefit of the children he served.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Marcus A. Foster collection spans the years 1941-1975, and includes administrative documents, professional certifications, printed materials, photographs, newspaper articles and ceremonial attire, with the bulk of the material pertaining to the years 1968-1974.
    The collection is organized into four series: 1) School Administration documents including a 1974 report of the Buildings and Grounds Committee, an earthquake safety construction program report, cost estimate for classroom construction and a 1974 status report on the quake-safe schools program. 2) A group of black and white photographs showing the site of the fatal attack on Dr. Foster, the OPS administration building, an OPS security vehicle, an unknown apartment building and a professional portrait of Dr. Foster. 3) Printed Materials including the soft-cover book “Dr. Marcus A. Foster, A Man For All People”, a set of photocopied newspaper articles pertaining to Dr. Foster’s life and a set of miscellaneous publications, including two doctoral dissertations, pertaining to Dr. Foster’s accomplishments and life. 4) Plaques and Awards presented to Dr. Foster including an Award of Merit from Simon Gratz High School, various professional certificates, posthumous awards and resolutions from the State of California legislature honoring his many achievements. 5) Ceremonial attire worn by Dr. Foster including graduation gowns and cowls.

    Arrangement

    Series I. Biographic Materials Series II. Photographs Series III. Printed material Series IV. Awards Series V. Clothing

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Marcus Foster.
    Marcus A. Foster Educational Institute (Oakland, Calif).
    Public schools--California--Oakland.
    African American educators.
    Oakland (Calif.)--History.
    Philadelphia (Pa.)--History--20th century.