Buard, Rebecca J. (1909–2000)

By: Jennifer Bridges

Type: Biography

Published: July 15, 2013

Updated: September 20, 2017

Rebecca J. Buard, African-American educator and historical preservationist, was born on July 4, 1909, to E. L. and Mary Drayden in Scottsville, Texas. She was the youngest of five siblings raised on a farm belonging to her grandfather, Major Carter in Harrison County. Her grandfather was a fisherman on Caddo Lake and was able to purchase land in 1867 based on income from selling fish. As a child, Rebecca attended a neighborhood school run by her mother and then went to Pemberton High School where she graduated in 1925. She attended Bishop College in Marshall before beginning her lifetime career as a teacher. Rebecca married Polete Buard on August 16, 1929, in Miller County, Arkansas. Polete Buard was a self-made businessman from Marshall, Texas. He began his career with the Texas and Pacific Railroad in the freight office and, after retiring, opened Buard’s Phillip 66 Service Station in Marshall in the “New Town Neighborhood” near Wiley College. There is no record of the Buards having children.

Rebecca Buard had her first teaching job in Cass County, Texas, where she made $60 a month. Her next school was in Jonesville, Texas, before she finally transferred to Marshall in 1944. She taught English at Marshall High School through integration in 1963 and into the 1970s before retiring. While at Marshall High School, Buard was in charge of the honor society and clearly remembered witnessing the sit-ins and pray-ins that occurred during the civil rights movement of the 1960s. During her tenure at Marshall, she also earned her M.A. from the University of Southern California.

After retiring from Marshall High School, Buard continued an active career in the community of Marshall. She worked at the Marshall Public Library and was appointed to the Historical Preservation Committee by the city and to the Harrison County Historical Commission. She helped sponsor an oral history project through the library, which resulted in two volumes entitled, The Black Citizen and Democracy. She later joined the Harrison County Historical Society and helped get the Ethnic Group Heritage Room established at the Old Courthouse Museum. She was also instrumental in cleaning up the Powder Mill Cemetery and securing a historical marker for it in 1985. Additionally, Buard was active in the Bethesda Baptist Church of Marshall and helped that institution receive a historical marker in 1978.

Rebecca D. Buard spent her entire life in Harrison County, Texas, and was a devoted teacher and preservationist for the community. She died in Marshall on July 2, 2000, at the age of ninety.

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Rebecca J. Buard, Interview by Cheri Wolff, October 18, 1993, Marshall, Texas, Institute of Texan Cultures, Oral History Collection, UTSA Libraries Digital Collections (http://digital.utsa.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/p15125coll4/id/242/rec/1), accessed June 6, 2013.

  • Education
  • Educators
  • Peoples
  • African Americans
  • Women
  • Preservationists
Time Periods:
  • Great Depression
  • Texas in the 1920s
  • World War II
  • Texas Post World War II
  • East Texas
  • East Central Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Jennifer Bridges, “Buard, Rebecca J.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 21, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/buard-rebecca-j.

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July 15, 2013
September 20, 2017

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