Member of the
Shreveport City Council
|Preceded by||Former commission form of government|
|Succeeded by||Joe Shyne|
|Born||November 11, 1917|
|Died|| June 6, 2008|
|Spouse(s)||Bruetta Dupree Farr|
Civil rights activist
Herman Farr (November 11, 1917 – June 6, 2008) was an African-American clergyman who was among the first three members of his race to serve on the city council in Shreveport, the largest city in North Louisiana. Farr served a single four-year term from 1978 to 1982, under the single-member district mayor-council format, which that year replaced the former at-large city commission government. His black colleagues were Hilry Huckaby, Jr., and Gregory Tarver, later a member of the Louisiana State Senate for Caddo Parish.
The mayor during Farr's term on the council was William Thomas "Bill" Hanna (1930-2016). Former Mayor James C. Gardner (1924-2010) was a member of the founding city council with Farr. In 1982, when John Brennan Hussey was elected mayor, Farr was defeated for reelection by a 2-1 margin by his fellow black Democrat, Joe Shyne, who in 2008 still represented historically black District E on the council.
Farr was a member and former president of the Shreveport chapter of the interest group, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, through which he vowed to fight for justice and civil rights. In his June 17 tribute to Farr, Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover, the first African American to serve in the high executive position since Reconstruction, said that Farr "never backed-down from a fight; he had a kind forgiving heart and a quick smile: He would be literally ready to go to war one minute, and a minute later he was all smiles. [He] never held a grudge. Shreveport has lost a great public servant. [His] life is worthy of emulation. He has set a very high bar for all citizens. ... In his youth, Farr was a boxer. He came to Shreveport in 1964 and was the pastor of the historically black Upper Zion and Oak Hill Baptist churches. According to the archives of The Shreveport Times, Farr "quickly made his mark when he refused to go to the balcony — the [then] Negro section — at the Strand Theatre. He led his wife [Bruetta Dupree Farr] through the front door, and a policeman was called, but the officer stood back and watched. From then on, blacks sat downstairs in the [since restored and historic] movie theater.
Farr was a founding member of Citizens for Better Schools and the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, which pushed for the Shreveport Fire Department to hire its first African American firefighters. Shyne said that he and his former election opponent "enjoyed competing against each other. He and I worked very close together in trying to correct social and economic ills ... aimed directly at the black community."
Farr died in Shreveport at the age of ninety. Services were held on June 11 at Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, 5823 Ledbetter Street in Shreveport, with the pastor, Dr. Joe Rascoe Gant, Jr., officiating. Interment was at Lincoln Memorial Park Cemetery.
- Rev. Herman Farr obituary. The Shreveport Times (June 10, 2008). Retrieved on May 12, 2017.
- Willie Bradford (March 7, 2015). Making Shreveport a Progressive, Inclusive Great City. Retrieved on May 12, 2017.