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Muriel W. Foster

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Information about Muriel W. Foster

Profile image of Muriel W. Foster

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Dance Instructor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Green
Favorite Food:
Macaroni, Cheese
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
1/16/1931
Birth Location:
Chicago, Illinois

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Dance Instructor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Green
Favorite Food:
Macaroni, Cheese
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
1/16/1931
Birth Location:
Chicago
See how Muriel W. Foster is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Dance instructor and arts administrator Muriel Foster was born Muriel Burns, January 16, 1931 in Chicago, Illinois. Her mother, Hattie was from Dayton, Ohio and her father, William D. Burns, a veteran vaudevillian and one of the Four Harmony Kings, was from Denver, Colorado. Foster started dance instructions at age four with Sadie Bruce. In 1941, she enrolled in the school of her father’s friend from “Shuffle Along” Sammy Dyer. She attended Carter Elementary School and while still in school Foster and four of her friends, Shirley Hall, Jean Cornell, Clarice White, and Gloria Broussard started performing as the sensational “Dyerettes.” Under Dyer’s tutelage, Foster still graduated from DuSable High School in 1948 all the while still performing with Sammy Davis, Jr., Nat King Cole, Benny Green, Ruth Brown, Roy Hamilton, Tito Puente, Billy Eckstine and other greats. Earning an A.A. degree from Wilson Junior College in 1951, Foster continued to tour the United States and Canada. Known for their polished professionalism and unexpected acrobatics, the Dyerettes performed at the Club DeLisa, the Lafayette Theatre and the Apollo Theatre.

Foster married Bobby Wilson, a baseball player with the Dodgers, in 1955 and continued to perform through 1956. However, as other members got married, the Dyerettes retired. Divorced, Foster worked in the Personnel Department at Wieboldt’s Department Stores in Chicago until the stores went bankrupt in 1988. Since 1988, Foster has been Human Resources coordinator for Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, but, despite a full career, Foster has actively supported the Sammy Dyer School of Theatre. Over the years the school has produced performers like George Patterson, Tedd Levy, Brill Barrett and Geraldine Johnson. When Mr. Dyer away passed in 1960, Dyerette, Shirley Hall directed the school from 1960 to 1998. Foster has been the director of the school since 1998.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Muriel W. Foster's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Muriel W. Foster lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Muriel W. Foster describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Muriel W. Foster explains how her parents met in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Muriel W. Foster describes her father's family background, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Muriel W. Foster describes her father's family background, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Muriel W. Foster talks about her likeness to her vaudevillian father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Muriel W. Foster remembers her father ending his vaudeville career to be with their family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Muriel W. Foster describes her childhood homes on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Muriel W. Foster describes her earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Muriel W. Foster talks about her childhood dance and voice lessons
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Muriel W. Foster describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Muriel W. Foster lists her siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Muriel W. Foster describes her childhood personality
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Muriel W. Foster recalls her favorite subjects in school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Muriel W. Foster remembers enjoying her schooling in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Muriel W. Foster remembers beginning her professional dance career during her time at DuSable High School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Muriel W. Foster remembers Sammy Davis, Jr.
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Muriel W. Foster recalls sharing a love of performance with her father
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Muriel W. Foster remembers Sammy Dyer
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Muriel W. Foster recalls her early work with the Dyerettes
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Muriel W. Foster remembers dancing in 'The Swing Mikado' with the Dyerettes
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Muriel W. Foster talks about Gloria Broussard and Shirley Hall Bass of the Dyerettes
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Muriel W. Foster talks about Clarice White Pruitt and Jeannie Cornell Robinson of the Dyerettes
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Muriel W. Foster recalls her education at Woodrow Wilson Junior College in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Muriel W. Foster talks about her husband, baseball player Bobby Wilson
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Muriel W. Foster remembers performing in Hawaii with the Dyerettes
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Muriel W. Foster recalls performing in the South with the Dyerettes, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Muriel W. Foster recalls performing in the South with the Dyerettes, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Muriel W. Foster recalls her perception of the Civil Rights Movement while touring in the South
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Muriel W. Foster remembers lessons from her father in dealing with discrimination
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Muriel W. Foster recalls being welcomed at an all-white Christian Scientist church in Mississippi while travelling with the Dyerettes
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Muriel W. Foster recalls highlights from her career with the Dyerettes
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Muriel W. Foster talks about the injury that nearly ended her career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Muriel W. Foster remembers leaving show business to start a family
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Muriel W. Foster recalls the difficulty of travelling with her husband's baseball team
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Muriel W. Foster remembers starting her career as a dance teacher after leaving the Dyerettes
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Muriel W. Foster talks about working as Weiboldt Stores' first African American personnel manager
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Muriel W. Foster explains how the Sammy Dyer School of the Theatre acquired an offshoot in the Bahamas
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Muriel W. Foster describes her current work at Sammy Dyer School of the Theatre and Merchandise Mart
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Muriel W. Foster explains how Sammy Dyer School of the Theatre is funded
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Muriel W. Foster talks about the status of the Sammy Dyer School of the Theatre in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Muriel W. Foster remembers teaching Ted Louis Levy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Muriel W. Foster recalls Ted Louis Levy teaching at Sammy Dyer School of the Theatre in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Muriel W. Foster talks about the alumni of the Sammy Dyer School of the Theatre in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Muriel W. Foster talks about the future of the Sammy Dyer School of the Theatre in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Muriel W. Foster describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Muriel W. Foster reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Muriel W. Foster reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Muriel W. Foster talks about her family
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Muriel W. Foster explains how Sammy Dyer's legacy is upheld at the Sammy Dyer School of the Theatre in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Muriel W. Foster describes her hopes for the future of the Sammy Dyer School of the Theatre in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Muriel W. Foster describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Muriel W. Foster narrates her photographs