David Herndon Raines was a successful farmer living in north Louisiana. He may have been one of the first black millionaires in Caddo Parish and decided to share his wealth with his neighbors.
Willie White says, “I think he was just ahead of his time in terms of philanthropist in this area.”
Raines decided to help local boys who were considered “juvenile delinquents” who were being housed with adult criminals.
“He wanted to create an area where they could be safe. They could be educated. They could be re-educated and trained and become productive citizens.”
He donated 22 acres of land in north Shreveport for the cause, in the area now known as the Martin Luther King community.
The land now houses several community organizations like the Community Action Agency, along with a recreation center and health center.
Willie White is now the CEO of the David Raines Community Health Centers and he is working to continue the mission of the Raines family.
In the early 1970s Cooper Road Medical Clinic was formed.
“We are the by product of the legacy of people in the Cooper Road area that wanted to bring healthcare to that community.”
It eventually evolved into the David Raines Community Health Centers. Healthcare services are now expanding into five caddo parish schools.
“It’s an honor for me. We want to make sure we continue his legacy. We want to create affordable, accessible healthcare services to the communities and we’ve been able to do that.”
Health centers have since been established beyond the MLK neighborhood to Bossier, Claiborne and Webster parishes.
“We carry his name and I can’t tell you how many times people ask who is David Raines, where does the name come from and it’s really an honor for me to be able to tell them.”