Shreveport-born man with philosophical bent traveled a secular path from–and back to–the South, in a culture of imbued religiosity.
Meet Charles Thomas Beaird, one of the last openly self-described “liberal Republicans“. An early “champion” of civil rights legislation, Beaird served in the military and was a nontheist, according to his obituary.
A fortunate man, Beaird returned from war to an existing family enterprise with promise of fortune. Alongside Beaird’s ongoing industrial business interests, he became immersed and involved in politics where he lent support to various interests in service as advocate, director (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas) or co-chair (of Shreveport’s Biracial Commission, for example). He served in office for four years.
After working to turn a democratic community into a Republican one, and eventually realizing that he was liberal, he continued to serve the GOP party in a fiscally-conservative mindset, but would eventually pivot to publishing and real estate. He would direct the formerly conservative Shreveport Journal under a new, liberal mindset and champion organized labor ( a “rare phenomenon” in the South) alongside conservative-interest campaigns like the flouridation of the community’s water supply.
Beaird would ultimately run philanthropic real estate projects and fight to improve housing and living conditions for one of Shreveport‘s poorest districts, and he’d win several awards, which include the Liberty Bell Award from the Shreveport Bar Association, the Philanthropist of the Year Award from the Association of Fund Raising Professionals, the Jacques Napier Steinau Award of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award given by All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church.
Mr. Beaird wore a real rose, pinned to his lapel each day that he went to work, and a symbolic rose logo adorns the downtown Shreveport Beaird Tower.
His wife identified as Presbyterian.
Wikipedia authors. Charles T. Beaird. Retreived 10/16/2018.
Obituary, via Full Wiki. Charles T. Beaird. Retreived 10/16/2018.