September 29, 2023

Rose Howard: A Life of Service

By: Chelsea Davis-Bibb, Ed.D.

Growing up, Rose Howard moved from Third Ward to the Acreage Home community in 1948. She said that the Acreage Home community was “different than Third Ward,” but they learned to adapt. Third Ward had streetlights and plumbing, but the Acreage Home community did not have any streetlights nor plumbing, and families had their individual wells. “I don’t know what decisions they made to move out here, but I do know my father owned a few pieces of land for ten dollars a month,” she expressed. Howard mentioned that her father and his brothers built their two-bedroom home, that she shared with her sisters and brother.

Her parents were very religious and very concerned about their children receiving a quality education. Her father was a rice mill worker, and her mother was a domestic worker. Her father was also a carpenter and did all the carpentry work for Boyd Funeral Home during that time.

She attended A.B. Anderson Elementary for grades first through eighth and graduated from George Washington Carver High School in 1959. Going to school at Anderson, Howard described that there were so many kids attending the school, that some kids went to school in the morning and some in the afternoon. As a child, she enjoyed playing Hopscotch, Jacks, and even making her own dolls to play with.

After she finished high school, she went to nursing school and graduated in 1962. She did not pursue nursing after one bad encounter with a white woman who spit on her. “She did not like black people waiting on her,” expressed Howard. She felt terrible as this was her first racial encounter. This left a mark on her, as she has never forgotten this experience. Howard then started working downtown at the LC Cafeteria for the next six years. After her time there, she started working at Garden City Food Store as a cashier. She enjoyed her time there but started a new job opportunity at Paradise Cemetery as a clerk. In 1966, she married the love of her life, and stopped working at Paradise Cemetery in 1970, due to her being pregnant with her son.

After the birth of her son, she started working at Garden City Apartments. She enjoyed working there as she “learned about welfare, and a lot of information regarding government housing.” She quit because the manager was given a big raise, but he did not want to give Howard even half of the money she was owed. “I had never quit a job before, but I gave him a two weeks’ notice.” She was so loved at Garden City Apartments that the tenants formed a petition to try and get her the money she was due.

She then received a call from Paradise Cemetery to come back and work a position in sales. She accepted their offer and stayed there until her retirement in 2008. During her time at Paradise Cemetery, she also was a substitute teacher in Aldine Independent School District. After speaking with a counselor she worked with, she told Howard to go back and “buy those years you have subbed, so you can have twenty years when you retire.” That is what she did, and she retired from Aldine in 2008.

Over the course of her life, Howard has taken great pride in giving back to her community as she has volunteered for many different things.

She was a hostess for the chamber for 18 years.

She volunteered as a Den Mother and worked with little scouts to be good citizens and earn their merit badge (1980)

She volunteered for War on Drugs when President Bush came down to visit the Acreage Home Community (1989)

Through the Acreage Home’s Chamber, she volunteered for one of the censuses and set up offices for the census at the Acreage Home Library.

She volunteered for the election of Lee Brown for mayor. Howard helped passed out literature and other campaign materials.

Howard volunteered for the America Cancer Organization and collected donations

She was recognized by the Old Acreage Home Citizen Council at their banquet for the work she did as President of Garden City Civic Club. She worked hard to get 21 fire hydrants for Garden City as there were only eight.

She was President of Garden City Civic Club (2003)

A member of the Acreage Home PIP (2007)

President of the Acreage Home Historical Society (2008-2020). As president, they had the 100-year parade for Acreage Home, placed a historical marker at West Montgomery and Little York (2019), and the placing of a historical mural at Osbourne Elementary that documented all the leaders in the Acreage Home community.

During Mayor Turner’s Campaign for mayor, she volunteered and passed out literature and campaign materials to the community.

Howard has dedicated her life to the service of others. She is a pillar in her community and has done great things for her community. In the words of Albert Einstein, “Only a life lived for others, is a life worthwhile.”




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