Prof. Madison J. Foster

He was a Great Educator, Principal of Monroe Colored High

Madison J. Foster was the first principal of Monroe Colored High School from 1935 to the late 1940’s.

He was a strict disciplinarian who drilled into MCH students the fear of God and service to man. He was known to have started most school assembly programs with a bible verse from proverbs “My son, if evil entice thee, consent thou not.”

An easy going, kind and gentle man, he was well liked and not inclined to abrasiveness. His career as principal of Monroe Colored High ended abruptly and suddenly when he resigned and one of his instructor’s Morris Henry Carroll was named principal. There was much discussion as to the reasons for his resignation.

Many suspected that Carroll and a white businessperson, James A. Noe, whose wife Anna Gray, was a powerful member of the school board, forced his resignation. Professor Foster avoided the subject. Despite his hurt feelings Foster never gave an explanation of his resignation but after leaving the school none of his children ever attended the school, choosing parochial schools instead.

At least two teachers resigned after Carroll became principal, Nellie Dorsey Adams and W. T. Jones, both were bitter at Foster’s ouster and they accused Carroll of pushing him out. Hurt but refusing to show it, Foster settled down to teaching in the United Theological Seminary. A few years later he died. When Monroe Colored High was rebuilt on Renwick Street there was an effort led by B. D. Robinson to get the new school named after Foster. A petition bearing the names of 5,000 Negroes requested the school board to name the school “Foster High School” in memory of Professor Foster.

The effort failed as Carroll used his influence with white community leaders to have the school named after his father Henry Clay Carroll. Bitter over the rejection of community wishes, the Black community was enraged. City leaders, trying to pacify Blacks, named a new housing project after the mild mannered Foster.

That project, the “Foster Homes” still exists unto this day. In 1994 the name of the Project was changed to “Foster Heights” but it still bears the name of the mild mannered man who was loved by so many.