Black History Month: Celebrating Tammy Houston

Published 11:46 am Thursday, February 2, 2023

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In celebration of Black History Month, L’Observateur is running a series of  Q&As with various local members of the African American Community.

Full Name: Tammy Y. Houston

 Where are you from? Reserve

Tell us a little bit about yourself: 

I am a graduate of East St. John high school. I proceeded to receive a bachelor’s of arts degree in communications from the University of New Orleans. I hold a master’s of public administration from Southern University in Baton Rouge. I retired as the assistant director of the St. John the Baptist Parish library system after 29 years of public service. During the course of my tenure with the library, I spent 16 years as the supervisor of the Reserve branch. I served as a member of the St. John the Baptist Parish Civil Service Board for 12 years, with six of those years, serving as board chairperson. For the last three years, I’ve been honored and privileged to serve as the council representative for District III. I am also a member of the St. John Parish Education Foundation board of directors. 

Who are some Black role models you look up to, and why? There are several individuals, on all platforms, locally, state-wide and nationally, who I admire. One of the individuals, locally, who I have a tremendous amount of respect for and who has earned my admiration is Mrs. Whileminia Armour. Mrs. Armour was my black history teacher at East St. John and she displayed strength, wisdom and an abundance of knowledge in vast areas of studies.  She was fearless, intelligent and very independent. She personifies dignity. Nationally, I so admire Shirley Chisholm. Ms. Chisholm set the standards for African-American in politics. As the first black woman elected to Congress, she created the precedence for young African-American girls to achieve successful careers in politics at all levels. 

What does Black History Month mean to you? Black history month offers reflections on the successes and achievements of our predecessors. Those  who paved the way for the accomplishments and prominence afforded African-Americans today. It’s a time to applaud and appreciate our ancestors and the rich history of our heritage. 

Why is it important to encourage diversity? Our nation is a compilation of diversity. It’s part of a coalition of how our country was founded. The different cultures and customs have blended to create the United States of America. 

What changes would you like to see in the local community? I’d like to see more activism in our community. I believe it is important for our residents to be more vocal and active in all aspects of our parish. I’d like to see more varieties of businesses come to the parish. As much as I welcome the national businesses, it is just as important to welcome and support our smaller businesses. Also, it is my desire to rebuild our school system to the grandeur of the past. We had a superior public school system that produced many successful products. I believe that if we can achieve that success once again and with an improved school system, it can only boost our economy.