History of AFWC
Organized in 1895, the Alabama Federation of Women's Clubs (AFWC) was chartered into the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC) in 1907. For over 125 years, AFWC has worked to address the most pressing needs of our communities and our state. This includes promoting education, preserving natural resources, stressing good citizenship, moral and spiritual values and good health, contributing to world peace and international understanding, and supporting participation in the arts.
Foster House, the official state headquarters building of the Alabama Federation of Women's Clubs, was purchased in 1983 through the generosity of members and Federation funds. The building houses the AFWC office, Federation archives, meeting rooms, and includes overnight accommodations, all of which are used regularly for Federation meetings and social events.
The main floor features a large foyer, living room, solarium, and dining room, which are open and connecting to allow for comfortable gatherings. The breakfast room and spacious kitchen provide for efficient serving of meals. The second floor has three bedrooms, the office, and archives library, which are furnished for small group meetings and can accommodate 20 for sleeping. The building has three full bathrooms and two half baths.
As a result of the generosity of districts, clubs, members, corporate sponsors, and friends of the Federation, AFWC can be proud of the beautiful building where its members can work and be served, have meetings, and enjoy festive social occasions.
The home was built in 1913 for Dr. Sterling Foster, a Birmingham theologian who was a minister of South Highland Presbyterian Church. The neighborhood was home to many of the city's prominent families, and the address on Niazuma Avenue was only a few blocks from Dr. Foster's church on Highlands Avenue.
Mrs. Foster was active in many civic organizations including the Cadmean Circle, one of the charter clubs of the Alabama Federation of Women's Clubs. The home was lively with three children, a son and two daughters. Sterling Jr. became a New Dealer under FDR and was a Democratic Party supporter in Alabama politics. Virginia Foster Durr, the younger daughter, married Clifford Durr from Montgomery. Mr. Durr worked for the New Deal in the government of FDR but before moving to Washington, the couple resided in the home. Josephine Foster married Hugo Black in the living room of the Foster House.
Mr. Black, a young attorney, would later serve as a United States Senator and be appointed as a Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Hugo Black and his family lived at this residence during his senatorial campaigns. "Outside the Magic Circle", Mrs. Durr's autobiography, records the years her family lived at this address on Niazuma Avenue.
Since the family sold the home in the 1940's, it has served as the Redmont School and as Alethea House, a residential drug rehabilitation facility.
The AFWC State Headquarters may be reserved for tours, meetings, and special social occasions with the sponsorship of an AFWC member.
For scheduling and fee information contact:
Jean Ingram, AFWC Headquarters Chairman
The AFWC Foster House Club - This Federation club was organized to help renovate, maintain, and promote the use of the AFWC State Headquarters. The members have contributed outstanding gifts of money and numerous hours of volunteer service in meeting their goals. Membership is open to anyone interested in furthering its purposes. The club meets three times a year; the annual membership dues are $35. All funds raised and contributed through the club are used to improve and enhance the headquarters so the Federation can more effectively serve all AFWC members.
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