Foster, James A.(born: 1837 - died: 1891)
Reverend James A. Foster, a Kentucky native who had a limited formal education, was involved in establishing higher education for African Americans in Alabama. He gained his prominence via the church, serving as the first recording secretary of the Colored Baptist of Alabama State Convention and later as convention president. He had left Kentucky for Alabama when he was a young man, and it is not known if he was ever enslaved. Foster was ordained in Montgomery in 1867 and served as pastor at Mt. Meigs Church and Columbus Street Church. He was a trustee of the Alabama State Normal School and Swayne School. Alabama State Normal was originally Lincoln School in Marion, AL, and later became Lincoln Normal. In 1887, the school was moved to Montgomery and renamed Alabama State Normal School [now Alabama State University]. Swayne School opened in 1867 and was renamed Talladega College in 1869 [now Talladega University]. Reverend Foster was also one of the original incorporators of Selma University in 1881; the school was founded in 1878 as Alabama Baptist Normal and Theological School for the training of ministers and teachers. Reverend James A. Foster died in Montgomery, AL in 1891. For more see "Reverend James A. Foster" in The Cyclopedia of the Colored Baptists of Alabama, by C. O. Boothe, pp. 141-142 [available full-text at UNC Documenting the American South].