Guide to the Marcus A. Foster Collection

John Hickman
African American Museum & Library at Oakland
659 14th Street
Oakland, California 94612
Phone: (510) 637-0198
Fax: (510) 637-0204
Email: aamlo@oaklandlibrary.org
URL: http://www.oaklandlibrary.org/locations/african-american-museum-library-oakland
© 2013
African American Museum & Library at Oakland. All rights reserved.

Guide to the Marcus A. Foster Collection

Collection number: MS 149

African American Museum & Library at Oakland

Oakland, California
Processed by:John Hickman
John Hickman
Date Completed:John Hickman
2014-04-29
Encoded by:John Hickman
2014-04-29
© 2013 African American Museum & Library at Oakland. All rights reserved.

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.


Biographical material

 

Biographical material

Physical Description: 2 folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

The series contains documents covering Dr. Foster's resume, brief biography, education credentials and awards.

Arrangement

Items are arranged by subject and by date thereafter.
 

Resumes and Biographies

Subseries Scope and Content Summary

Contains a resume and brief biography for Marcus A. Foster.

Arrangement

Items are arranged by subject and by date thereafter.
Box 1:1

Curriculum Vitae for Dr. Marcus A. Foster undated

Box 1:1

Brief biography for Marcus A. Foster, author unknown undated

 

Education credentials

Box 1:1

Pennsylvania Department of Education Professional Certificate undated

Box 1:1

California Board of Education General Administration Credential 1970

Box 1:1

California Board of Education General Elementary Credential 1970

Box 1:1

California Board of Education General Secondary Credential 1970

Box 1:1

State of California General School Services Credential 1973

Box 1:1

State of California General Teaching Credential, Elementary 1973

Box 1:1

State of California General Teaching Credential, Secondary 1973

Box 1:1

Resolution presenting the Senate of Pennsylvania Philadelphia award 1969

 

Educational activities

Series Scope and Content Summary

The series contains documents of Dr. Foster's activities relating to committees of the Oakland Public Schools District, and classroom construction.

Arrangement

Items are arranged by subject and by date thereafter.
 

Committees

Subseries Scope and Content Summary

The series covers activities with committees of the Oakland Unified School District relating to earthquake safety, and buildings and grounds.

Arrangement

Items are arranged by subject and by date thereafter.
Box 1:1

Oakland Public Schools report of the Buildings and Grounds Committee 1974

Box 1:1

Oakland Unified School District, Marcus A. Foster Earthquake Safety Construction Program, Report to the Board of Education by Robert Blackburn, Acting Superintendent, Status report on quake-safe schools program 1974

 

Construction

Subseries Scope and Content Summary

Contains site surveys of OPS school buildings and a cost estimate for a typical classroom.

Arrangement

Items are arranged by subject and by date thereafter.
Box 1:1

Cost estimate; “Comparative Costs of Typical 24’ x 36’ Classroom” 1974

Box 1:1

Site surveys for various existing school buildings [16 total], 1974

 

Photographs

Series Scope and Content Summary

The series contains black and white photographs of the Oakland Public Schools Administration building, photo negatives related to the black and white photographs, and a portrait of Marcus A. Foster.

Arrangement

Items are arranged by subject and by date thereafter.
 

School Facilities

 

Oakland Public Schools Administration Building at 1025 Second Ave., Oakland, California. [site of Marcus Foster assassination]

Box 1:2

Building entry at OPS Administration Building, [001] circa 1970's

Box 1:2

Building entry at OPS Administration Building [002] circa 1970's

Box 1:2

Building entry at OPS Administration Building [003] circa 1970's

Box 1:2

Building entry at OPS Administration Building [004] circa 1970's

Box 1:2

Site of Marcus Foster Assassination behind OPS Administration Building [005] circa 1970's

Box 1:2

Site of Marcus Foster Assassination behind OPS Administration Building [006] circa 1970's

Box 1:2

Site of Marcus Foster Assassination behind OPS Administration Building [007] circa 1970's

Box 1:2

Site of Marcus Foster Assassination behind OPS Administration Building [008] circa 1970's

Box 1:2

Site of Marcus Foster Assassination behind OPS Administration Building [009] circa 1970's

Box 1:2

Site of Marcus Foster Assassination behind OPS Administration Building [010] circa 1970's

Box 1:2

Site of Marcus Foster Assassination behind OPS Administration Building [011] circa 1970's

Box 1:2

Site of Marcus Foster Assassination behind OPS Administration Building [012] circa 1970's

Box 1:2

Site of Marcus Foster Assassination behind OPS Administration Building [013] circa 1970's

Box 1:2

Building entry at OPS Administration Building [014] circa 1970's

Box 1:2

Building entry at OPS Administration Building [015] circa 1970's

Box 1:2

Building entry at OPS Administration Building [016] circa 1970's

Box 1:2

Building entry at OPS Administration Building [017] circa 1970's

Box 1:2

Building entry at OPS Administration Building [018] circa 1970's

Box 1:2

Building entry at OPS Administration Building [019] circa 1970's

Box 1:2

Building entry at OPS Administration Building [020] circa 1970's

Box 1:2

Building entry at OPS Administration Building [021] circa 1970's

Box 1:2

Building entry at OPS Administration Building [022] circa 1970's

Box 1:2

Building entry at OPS Administration Building [023] circa 1970's

Box 1:2

Building entry at OPS Administration Building [024] circa 1970's

Box 1:2

Building entry at OPS Administration Building [025] circa 1970's

Box 1:2

Building entry at OPS Administration Building [026] circa 1970's

Box 1:2

Building entry at OPS Administration Building [027] circa 1970's

Box 1:2

Building entry at OPS Administration Building [028] circa 1970's

Box 1:2

Building entry at OPS Administration Building [029] circa 1970's

 

Security Division Vehicle at Oakland Public Schools Administration Building, 1025 Second Ave

Box 1:2

OPS Security Division Vehicle [030] circa 1970's

Box 1:2

OPS Security Division Vehicle [031] circa 1970's

Box 1:2

OPS Security Division Vehicle [032] circa 1970's

 

Assorted Photos

Box 1:2

Apartment building at 1621 (street unknown) [006] circa 1970's

Box 1:2

Apartment building at 1621 (street unknown) [007] circa 1970's

Box 1:2

Apartment building at 1621 (street unknown) [034] circa 1970's

Box 1:2

Apartment building at 1621 (street unknown) [035] circa 1970's

Box 1:2

Apartment building at 1621 (street unknown) [036] circa 1970's

Box 1:2

Photo Negatives: Negatives for school facility, security vehicle and assorted photos series [some negatives do not have corresponding photos] circa 1970's

 

Portrait of Marcus Foster

 

Printed material

Series Scope and Content Summary

Contains books, newspaper articles and miscellaneous publications relating to Marcus A. Foster, his life and accomplishments.

Arrangement

Items are arranged by subject and by date thereafter.
 

Books

Subseries Scope and Content Summary

Contains books written about the life of Marcus A. Foster.

Arrangement

Items are arranged by subject and by date thereafter.
Box 1:3

Softcover Book; Dr. Marcus A. Foster, A Man For All People,[ 3 copies] 1974

Box 1:3

Hallum, Rosemary, and Albertine Foster. Dr. Marcus A. Foster: A Man for All People 1974

 

Newspaper articles

Subseries Scope and Content Summary

Contains newspaper articles published about Marcus A. Foster during his tenure as Superintendant of Oakland Public Schools, his assassination and his legacy.

Arrangement

Items are arranged by subject and by date thereafter.
Box 1:4

"Business will serve as classroom for new school"[photocopy], Oakland Tribune> 1972

Box 1:4

"Dr. Marcus A. Foster fatally wounded", Berkeley Post 1973

Box 1:4

"I.D. cards for students urged" (photocopy), Oakland Tribune 1974

Box 1:4

"25 Years later, Foster remains education hero", Oakland Tribune 1998

 

Miscellaneous Publications

Subseries Scope and Content Summary

Contains a variety of publications, primarily posthumous, regarding Marcus A. Foster's life and achievements in education.

Arrangement

Items are arranged by subject and by date thereafter.
Box 1:4

Marcus A. Foster Educational Institute 2003-2004 annual report undated

Box 1:4

Bethel Baptist Church’s 13th annual scholarship awards program 1974

Box 1:4

Simon Gratz High School memo 1969

Box 1:4

Community memorial services program for Dr. Marcus A. Foster with annotated rough draft of speech by Rev. Kenneth Baumhoff 1973

Box 1:5

Foster’s Travels: A Twenty Year Adventure in the Philadelphia Schools, author unknown undated

Box 1:5

Quotes from Marcus Foster, [2 copies] undated

Box 1:5

Listing of accomplishments for Dr. Marcus A. Foster Superintendent of Schools; including community activities, publications, awards, citations, experience, education, professional organizations and activities undated

Box 1:5

California State Assembly Memorial Resolution 1974

Box 1:5

In Memoriam, handout undated

Box 1:5

Marcus A. Foster Educational Institute inaugural dinner program handout, [2 copies] 1974

Box 1:5

Oakland Unified School District Superintendent’s Bulletin, [2 copies] 1973

Box 1:5

Poem; Any Day Now, Terran Davis 1973

Box 1:6

Collection of posthumous news clippings for Dr. Marcus A. Foster Superintendent of Schools, photocopies undated

Box 1:7

Doctoral Dissertation, Caught in Crossfire, Marcus Foster and America’s Urban Education Crisis, 1941-1973, by John Palmer Spencer 2002

Box 1:8

Doctoral Dissertation, Miracle Workers Wanted: Executive Succession and Organizational Change in an Urban School District, An Explanatory Study, by Gary Yee 1996

 

Awards

Series Scope and Content Summary

A collection of plaques, certifications, degrees and other commemorative memorabilia awarded to Marcus A. Foster. Also includes a 1941 graduating class photo from South Philadelphia High School.

Arrangement

Items are arranged by subject and by date thereafter.
Box OM 40

Plaque; Liberty Bell Award, Law Day USA (posthumous) undated

Box OM 40

Plaque; Award of Merit, Principal Simon Gratz High School 1969

Box OM 40

Plaque; St. Philip’s EV Lutheran Church 1969

Box OM 40

State of California General School Services, General Administration Credential 1973

Box OM 40

State of California General Teaching Credential, Elementary 1973

Box OM 40

State of California General Teaching Credential, Secondary 1973

Box OM 40

California Legislature Resolution 1975

Box OM 40

The Senate, California Legislature Resolution 1974

Box 1:1

State of Pennsylvania Resolution 1969

Box 1:1

Pennsylvania Department of Education Professional Certificate 1969

Box 1:1

Speech presenting Lincoln University honorary degree to Marcus Foster 1972

Box OM 40

Plaque; In Memorium 1973

Box OM 40

South Philadelphia High School Class Photo 1941

 

Clothing

Series Scope and Content Summary

Assorted robes and ceremonial regalia believed to have been worn by Marcus A. Foster.

Arrangement

Items are arranged by subject and by date thereafter.
Box OM 41

Assorted robes and ceremonial regalia believed to have been worn by Marcus A. Foster circa 1970s