The Whitehurst Case in Post Civil-Rights Montgomery
Published in 2018 by NewSouth Books, Closed Ranks tells the latter-day story of the Whitehurst Case, a police shooting controversy in Montgomery, Alabama in the 1970s. In this previously untold Black Lives Matter story, a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black man, whose family is still seeking justice. The Alabama Writers Forum’s review of the book stated, “Closed Ranks is a powerful and methodical memoir that captures a wrongful historical account of the untold murder of Bernard Whitehurst Jr., an African-American man who was senselessly killed on December 2, 1975 by a white officer on the Montgomery police force.”
Children of the Changing South:
Accounts of Growing up During and After Integration
Published in 2011 by McFarland & Co., the edited collection Children of the Changing South contains memoirs by eighteen writers and historians who spent their formative years in the South from the 1950s through the 1990s. The book opens with Foster’s introduction, which provides an academic argument for the importance of studying this subject. Notable contributors include Jim Grimsley, Stephanie Powell Watts, Ravi Howard, and Kathleen Rooney.
Treasuring Alabama’s Black Belt:
Multidisciplinary Approaches to Teaching Place
Published in 2009 through a joint project of Auburn University at Montgomery and the Alabama Humanities Foundation, this curriculum guide focuses on the history, literature, and art of the Black Belt region of western Alabama, which produced writers Harper Lee and Mary Ward Brown, artists William Christenberry and Charlie “Tin Man” Lucas, and the Gee’s Bend Quilters. Foster acted as General Editor for the project.
The Life and Poetry of John Beecher, 1904 – 1980:
Advocate of Poetry as a Spoken Art
Published in 2009 by Edwin Mellen Press, The Life and Poetry of John Beecher offers a biography and critical defense of this protest poet, writer, journalist, and activist who was originally from Birmingham, Alabama. Alongside his career as a poet, Beecher was a New Deal program administrator in the 1930s, volunteered for the Navy’s first integrated crew in 1940s, was blacklisted in the 1950s, emerged as a counterculture figure in the 1960s, and was a popular poet in the 1970s. Though his work declined in prominence after his death in 1980, a volume of selected poems titled One More River to Cross was published in 2003.
I Just Make People Up:
Ramblings with Clark Walker
Published in 2009 by NewSouth Books, I Just Make People Up offers a biography and full-color retrospective of Clark Walker, an artist whose career in Montgomery, Alabama spanned more than five decades from the 1950s through the 2010s. The book was based on conversations between the writer and the artist in 2004, when they were neighbors. In her review of I Just Make People Up, the late Julia Oliver called it “a gorgeous coffee table book” and “a triumph of the as-told-to style of writing.”
Kindling Not Yet Split
Published in 2002 by Court Street Press, this chapbook of poems is now out of print.
Student Book Projects
Sketches of Newtown
Published in 2021, this collection of student writings about the historically African-American community of Newtown grew out of an oral history project in 2019. The book contains nine sketches, a photo insert, a selected bibliography, and summaries of oral histories that were collected.
More than a Century Later:
21st Century Student Perspectives on Alabama’s 1901 Constitution
Published in 2009 with a grant from then-state senator Quinton Ross, this collection of responsive writings was the product of a collaboration among the Creative Writing magnet, Law magnet, and History department. Alabama’s state constitution is the longest and most amended governing document in the nation, and students learned about its complicated history and its difficult consequences in the present.
Writings and Photographs by Teenagers on Tolerance and Equality
Published in 2007 with a Teaching Tolerance grant from the Southern Poverty Law Center, this themed anthology features literary works and fine-art photography from students in the Creative Writing and Photography magnets. The print anthology contains poems, stories, and essays. A two-year online project for students nationwide followed the release of the book.
Taking the Time:
Young Writers and Old Stories
Published in 2005 with a Teaching Tolerance grant from the Southern Poverty Law Center, this collection of responsive writings by Creative Writing magnet students came out of an exploration of the Civil Rights movement, which included interviews with participants and on-lookers. The year 2005 was the 40th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery March and the 50th anniversary of the Montgomery us Boycott.