Lucretia Smiley “Dickie” Foster, African-American Dallas civic leader and journalist, was born in Hemphill, Texas, to Charlie and Katie (Watson) Smiley on September 12, 1912. One of six children, young Smiley and her family moved to Dallas during the 1920s, where she attended Dallas public schools before graduating from Bigger’s Business College. Sometime after 1930, Smiley married a man named Foster, but there is no record of her married life or a family.
In 1949 the enterprising Foster took over a record shop owned by Georgia McGowan on the corner of Thomas and Hall streets inside a building owned by the successful businessman Travis Clark. After establishing herself in the record business, Foster broke social boundaries and became the first African-American woman in Dallas to serve as hostess on a radio show that aired over KSKY. She used “Jazz at the Philharmonic” as her theme song, which helped promote her store on radio WRR.
Experienced in media, Foster began venturing into the area of journalism and authored a column called “Platter Chatter” for the Kansas City Call and the Pittsburgh Courier from 1949 to 1952. She also wrote for the Dallas Star Post from 1953 to 1954. In 1963 Foster served as associate editor of the Brown Texan Magazine while serving as a public relations specialist for Bishop College. In 1970 Foster returned to the Dallas Star Post, renamed the Dallas Post Tribune, where she became one of the contending shareholders and worked as a columnist, reporter, photographer, reporter, treasurer, associate editor, managing editor, and executive editor.
Foster remained very active in the civic affairs of Dallas. In 1962 she founded the Dallas Metropolitan Chapter of the National Association of Business and Professional Women as well as the Epsilon Chapter and the Eta Phi Beta Sorority; she was recognized nationally for these efforts in 1971. In 1965 Foster organized and founded the Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter of the National Association of Media Women, Inc. In 1976 she began the Dickie Foster Texas Black Women's Conference, which hundreds of women attended. Her efforts were to project an accurate, positive view of black life and culture. She provided many scholarships for journalism students at Lincoln High School and provided employment to new graduates.
Foster served on the Dallas Public Library board, on the board of the African American Museum of Life and Culture, the board of management of Moorland branch YMCA, board of the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce, on the vestry of the Epiphany Episcopal Church, and on the Mayor's Child Care Task Force for the city of Dallas. She held life memberships in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the National Council for Negro Women, and the Maria Morgan branch, YWCA. Foster was a contributor to the African American Museum located at Bishop College in Dallas. Her efforts formed the Women's Guild at the African American Museum as well as the Friends of Texas Black Women's History archives.
Foster, who led the way for African-American females in the journalism industry, died in Dallas on January 18, 2002.
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