Daughter: ‘She was always just my mama’

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 9, 2003

Davis is in Selma to attend her mother’s funeral, the details of which are still pending. Foster died Saturday.

The house sits just one block off the street that bears Marie Foster’s name &045; yet another tribute to the woman whose dedication to the cause of voting rights once earned her an invitation to the White House.

A picture of Foster in the White House hangs on that wall. Several members of the Marine honor guard can be glimpsed in the background and she is standing next to then President Bill Clinton. Clearly, the woman who was raised in poverty in rural Wilcox County is enjoying the moment.

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Foster had only been married for seven or eight years when her husband, James Foster, a laborer, died, leaving her with three small children. She had dropped out of high school to get married and had no job skills.

In order to feed her family, Foster worked two jobs. When Dr. Portlock, a Selma dentist, offered to send her to a dental hygienist school in New York City, she jumped at the opportunity.

Davis says she is proud of her mother’s many achievements, but adds, &uot;To me, she was always just my mama.&uot;

She remembers her mother as someone &uot;who believed in justice and in people having a voice,&uot; and who wasn’t afraid to speak out.

Marie Foster gave in other ways, too. At election time she used her car to carry others who did not drive to the polls. Beside her house stands a small building she christened the &uot;Coretta Scott King Learning Center.&uot;