I know for sure that you can change your font color in init 3. I used to change it , but I have forgot the file name. If you wait for some time, I will check with my friend and post the file to you. It is a file stored under /etc and if you have the time, just check the file under it for the file.
Wait, I searched here, and the file is /etc/DIR_COLORS.xterm in RH8. It will be the same for you if you use the same distribution.
Regarding the other question, I think that you cant have a bg for an init3 session.