David Herndon Raines was the son of John Raines and Mary Ann Herndon. John Raines died when David was a child in the early 1860's. John Raines married Mary Ann Herndon on July 2, 1859 in Louisiana and David is their only known child.
David Herndon Raines, born in 1859 became a successful and prosperous farmer in Pine Island, Louisiana. He later moved to 1419 Peabody Street in Shreveport where he established himself as a person of prominence in the neighborhood as a community builder and a business and cultural promoter. By 1936, David Raines was worth more that a million dollars, most of which came from oil holdings and properties owned.
More than a businessman, David Raines was a Christian and a philanthropist who was concerned about the plight of black youth and others of the area. He is responsible for the construction of the first African American church in the Herndon community. Other outstanding contributions by Raines include the money given to save a home for elderly African Americans in Dexter, Arkansas, and a large contribution to Wiley College during its Emergency Drive in 1936.
Probably one of the most lasting and outstanding contributions made by David Raines was through his efforts to help boys who had been labeled "juvenile delinquents." He realized that boys should not be housed with adult criminals nor should they be put away in surroundings that were inadequate and poorly administered. He gave 22 acres of land for the sole purpose of providing facilities and enough space to help these troubled boys become better citizens.
The land provided by Mr. Raines was in North Shreveport, now known as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Area. However, Cooper Road is the name the community was most commonly known by. The home for boys was built and kept in operation until the Caddo Parish Detention Home was erected. After the Home was built, the land was no longer in use until leased in 1963 to the David Raines Association to build a recreation center. This facility became a reality in 1970-71, when the Police Jury accepted the responsibility of building and equipping a modern recreation community center/complex to serve the people of the area.
This community center, the David Raines Center, housed the North Shreveport Caddo Community Action Agency facilities that include a model Headstart program, an extension childcare program from LSU Medical Center, a Shreve Memorial Library, and a park. Just as popular among African Americans as a progressive businessman in Shreveport was Joseph Herndon, David Herndon Raines’ uncle. While David H. Raines chose to reside within the city limits of Shreveport, Joseph Herndon remained in the northern section of Caddo Parish, but had businesses and oil operations that were based in Shreveport.
Joseph Herndon donated 22 acres of land for a school for African American children. The school is now known as Herndon Middle Magnet School. Both men stand out in history as supporters of progress for young African Americans, shrewd businessmen with little formal education who provided for their families’ years after their departure. David Raines died in 1945.
An article in the 1920 Negro Year Book entitled "Louisiana Farmer Purchases $100,000 Worth of Liberty Bonds" refers to David H. Rains (Raines). The article states that "David H. Rains, a wealthy Negro farmer, living near Shreveport, Louisiana, walked into the Liberty Loan Headquarters in that city, purchased $100,000 worth of the Fourth Liberty Loan Bonds and said that if they fell short of the quota, he would make up the deficiency". The article further stated the "Mr. Rains owns several hundred acres of land and has oil wells on his plantation form which he receives royalties."
Mrs. Mattie Raines continued the work of her husband and always manifested an interest in youth and the impoverished. For many years she donated uniforms for the Y.M.C.A for a softball team. She also helped in many other religious and civic organizations. On September 24, 1997, David Raines’ daughter, Mrs. Mary Ann Raines Johnson, died at the age of 102. She was buried next to her father in the Herndon-Raines family cemetery in Pine Island.
The David Raines Park on the Russell Road is named in his honor.