If I can help somebody, as I pass along,
If I can cheer somebody, with a word or song,
If I can show somebody, how they’re traveling wrong,
If I can spread love’s message, as the Master taught,
If I can do my duty, as a good man ought,
Then my living shall not be in vain. – Chosen lyrics from Song, “If I can Help Somebody”
hen it comes to defining and understanding unselfish love for your community, one name sure to come up is Oveta Hunter.
For 70 years, Mrs Hunter has labored tirelessly to help promoted African-American pride, history and heritage and business in the Acres Home Community.
“God is good,” she said. “God’s grace and mercy keeps me going. God truly answers prayers.”
Though not one to boast or brag, this quiet 89-year old community activist was recognized for her years of community service with a special award at the Acres Home Chamber for Business and Economic Development Inc’s Silver Anniversary 25th Annual Awards Banquet held March 28th at the Beulah Ann Shepard Building.
Hunter is one who for years teamed with the likes of Beulah Ann Shepard, Ruby Moseley, Jewel Houston, Pastor F.N. Williams and others to help break down barriers, forge civil rights progress and community improvements that are shaping the present and future of this great neighborhood.
As she approaches 90-years old, Hunter has not given a hint at slowing down, but continues to be active in the chamber, her church and community activities and issues.
Her story is story that has seen many changes in Black History over the years.
She was born to Jerry and Alberta Randle on May 3, 1924, the third oldest of 6 children and was raised at 2232 Tuam Street in Houston’s Third Ward.
After her mother passed away at an early age, her father moved his family to Acres Home where she was educated in the Aldine Independent School District attending White Oak Elementary and George Washington Carver High School. She graduated Class of 1943 and is one of two surviving members from that class.
“We walked to school in those days,” she said. “At school, our teachers made us focus on our lessons and learning things we needed to know to make it in life.”
She remembers the days of learning in a one room school house and using second hand books and being taught by all Black teachers.
“You had to obey the rules,” she said. “Not Doing our school work and your lessons did not go by without punishment or whipping from parents and teachers.”
She said both teachers and parents knew education was the key to success.
Her dedication to her church is just as impressive. She joined Galilee Missionary Baptist Church in 1936 under the leadership of the late Rev. J.C. Smith and for 77 years is the oldest living member of the church. She has served on many auxiliaries during her membership as Usher, Missionary, Vacation Bible School teacher, Sunday School teacher, Choir member and Trustee wife.
Ms. Hunter has been very active and remains active in the community. She is a member of Acres Home Historian Committee; Life member of Acres Home Citizens Chamber of Commerce; Acres Home Business and Economic Development Inc.; George Washington Carver Alumni; YMCA Northwest Branch; AARP Northwest Branch; Acres Home Clinic Tea Party Group; Board member of Harris County Hospital District North Branch; A. Phillip Randolph Institute; HISD Community Board member; St Andrews Methodist Church Food Bank volunteer; and the Get Out the Vote Campaign to name a few.
“I have been involved with my community all these years because I care about Acres Homes,” she said.