Houston City Council approved to change the name of the Houston Public Library’s Acres Homes Neighborhood Library to the Beulah Shepard-Acres Homes Neighborhood Library, in memory of community leader Beulah Shepard. The approved renaming follows Mayor Annise D. Parker proclaiming September 18, 2012, as Beulah Shepard-Acres Homes Neighborhood Library Day in Houston. The Beulah Shepard-Acres Homes Neighborhood Library is located at 8501 West Montgomery, 77088, 832-393-1700.
About Beulah Shepard
Shepard was born Beulah Ann Raleigh in Plain Dealing, Louisiana on June 14, 1921 to Emmitt and Queen Raleigh. In 1948, she left for Houston, originally to assist her sister with her new baby boy. She later decided to remain in Houston and took her place in the Acres Home community where she became an active member of the Galilee Missionary Baptist Church and a deacon’s wife.
Shepard started working for Commissioner E.A. Squatty Lyons in January 1974 as a community aide and worked with him for 25 years. Of that job she said, "This was my delight because I love my community and consider myself a community activist. With a salary of $44,000 a year, car, gas, all expenses paid, that's not bad at all for a little girl named Beulah Ann from Plain Dealing with a 7th grade education." She later worked for the State of Texas for Senator John Whitmire’s office before finally retiring. Her hobbies included sightseeing, cooking, traveling, and lobbying for causes.
Shepard crossed many political barriers, and made herself heard about what she believed in and supported many important causes with great passion. She worked on several Democratic campaigns that included John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Jimmy Carter, Barbara Jordan, Mark White, Mickey Leland, and in 1970, she helped campaign for Houston’s first black city council member, Judson Robinson. She shared her wisdom with public figures at all levels. Local city council members, county officials, state legislators, members of Congress and even several U.S. Presidents sought her advice and counsel. Texas Representative Sylvester Turner commented once that; "Besides her family and church, politics was her life. She had a strong presence, especially in Democratic circles. People knew her from the White House to local political organizations.”
Shepard even became known as the “Mayor” of the Acres Home community. She was instrumental in improving her Acres Homes community. She secured a swimming pool, a neighborhood library and renaming of streets by lobbying the Houston City Council. Shepard was also a member of several organizations including The Congressional Black Caucus, the Harris County Council of Organizations and many more. People would hear her say, "Usually when you see me, I am on a mission. I am going someplace or coming from someplace where I have probably had plenty to say about a subject of great interest to the community. I am not afraid to speak up for what I believe in. You will never be in doubt where I stand on any issue."
Shepard was also the recipient of the Acres Homes Community Woman of the Year Award (1973), Galilee MBC Service Award (1976), HL&P Influential Women of Houston (1986), the Texas Living Legend Award from the Texas Coalition of Black Democrats (1987) and Community Affairs Award from the State Legislature (1991).
Shepard was 89 years old when she passed away on September 11, 2010. She dedicated her life to speaking up for what she believed in and always looked out for the best interest of her Acres Homes community.
About the Beulah Shepard-Acres Home Neighborhood Library
The Acres Homes community was developed in the early 1940’s in northwest Houston and was named for its one-acre home sites. As the area grew, the Houston Public Library acquired property on West Montgomery Road to add a library for the community. The architectural firm of Haywood, Jordan, McCowan Inc. designed the light-filled building featuring natural materials. The Acres Homes Neighborhood Library opened on December 7, 1976. The location was renamed to Beulah Shepard-Acres Homes Neighborhood Library on September 19, 2012 in memory of community leader Beulah Shepard.
About the Houston Public Library
For further information, visit the Houston Public Library at www.houstonlibrary.org or call 832-393-1313.
The Houston Public Library (HPL) operates 35 neighborhood libraries, three HPL Express Libraries, a Central Library, the Houston Metropolitan Research Center, the Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research, and the Parent Resource Library located in the Children’s Museum of Houston. Serving more than 4 million customers per year, HPL is committed to excellent customer service and equitable access to information and programs by providing library customers with free use of a diverse collection of printed materials and electronic resources, Internet, laptop and computer use, and a variety of database and reference resources with live assistance online 24/7.