"I just think that if we're Americans, We're Americans. We got the same wants, I want probably the same things you do. We got something in common and we got to learn how to get along together, you know, better. And it can be done, I've seen it."
William Foster, known to his friends as Bill, was born in the early 1940’s in Tutwiler, Mississippi. He moved with his family to a suburb of Chicago in the later 1940s, as a part of the larger Great Migration. There, his family was able to earn more money from the steel mills, cotton gins, and cemetery work than they had picking cotton as sharecroppers in Mississippi. He and his family lived in Robins, a mainly black suburb south of Chicago, near Lake Michigan. As a child and young adult, he had very little interaction with white people, so his perception was that many white people were racist and generally anti-black. It was only when he joined the Air Force and met a wider variety of people that he was able to get over his prejudices. He served in the Netherlands, specifically in Amsterdam. Recently, he moved back to the Delta to help found and run the Emmett Till Center, along with Jerome Little; an organization helping education in the Delta.