Jarred Howard considers himself a product of his historic Stop Six community.
Howard remains a familiar face there. Upon entering Black Coffee, a staple community spot in southeast Fort Worth, he is immediately greeted and called over by many of the customers in the shop – both old and young.
Raised there in the 1970s, Howard remembers when the neighborhood had everything in proximity: grocery stores, pharmacies, schools and churches. Howard is a fifth-generation resident of Stop Six, and his great-grandmother, Amanda Davis, founded the Stop Six neighborhood in 1896.
Now as the new CEO of the upcoming National Juneteenth Museum, Howard is working to raise the national profile of his community to a broader audience.
Finding passion in community growth
Howard was among the many kids in Fort Worth who were part of the city’s busing efforts to integrate schools. While that experience shaped him as a child, it wasn’t until he got to college at the University of North Texas that he experienced what he described as an “awakening.”
“I didn’t know then that there were barriers. I just thought that that was the way everybody lives, and so it wasn’t until probably I got to the University of North Texas that I was forced to break out and engage a community other than my own,” Howard said.
While in college, Howard studied marketing. For him, marketing is both his nature and his trade. After graduating, he returned home to Stop Six and worked there for a while. For him, it was a way to give back to the community that “literally raised (him).”
But Howard did not stay long in Stop Six. After five years, he worked six years at Daimler-Chrysler before he moved on to work for BNSF’s marketing and economic development team for 12 years.
It was then that Howard learned to use his business and marketing skills in a community development capacity. Traveling to over 41 states, Howard saw firsthand and learned how communities across the country were spurring economic and community growth.
“It gave me some insight into some of the things that we might be missing here in Fort Worth,” he said.
A passion was born.
Raising the Southside’s profile
Following the end of his decade-plus-long tenure at BNSF, Howard was recruited by the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce as a senior vice president of entrepreneurship and small business.
Howard’s experience in both the public and private sectors has provided skills for his newly announced position as CEO of the upcoming National Juneteenth Museum.
For Howard, this new endeavor is also personal. He has been celebrating Juneteenth for as long as he can remember and credits longtime Juneteenth advocate Opal Lee for getting him and the project to this stage.
“Ms. Opal is the key cog in all things Juneteenth, certainly locally. She has been for the last 15 or so years. So this is the culmination of the work that she’s been doing for several decades,” he said.
Howard and Lee connected several years ago. Lee asked Howard about his vision for Fort Worth and invited him to use her property — the future site of the Juneteenth Museum — to fulfill that vision.
“I see this as an opportunity to promote the continued evolution of the city of Fort Worth. And to leverage the incredible resource that we have here in Ms. Opal,” Howard said. “So the confluence of those things was catalytic in the birth of the national Juneteenth Museum. I’m really excited about that.”
Whitnee Boyd, coordinator of special projects for the Office of the Chancellor at Texas Christian University, met Howard in 2019 through a mutual friend. His persistence and relentlessness in pushing forward a new vision for the city will ensure it becomes a reality, she said.
“That is what will set the museum apart from other developments that have just happened in the past or other areas. This is truly a partnership with the community, and his heart is with the community,” Boyd said.
U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, called Howard a friend and noted the important role he plays in continuing Lee’s legacy.
“It is crucial that we tell our communities’ story of liberation from our perspective,” Veasey said in a statement. “As a fifth-generation Fort Worth native, Jarred knows the importance of this project to the people in this community… I look forward to continuing to work alongside him to complete this museum that will be a pillar of our community.”
In his new role with the museum, Howard is tasked with raising funds for the museum, which has a goal of $70 million. Through those efforts, Howard hopes to peel back the layers of Black history and culture that have deep roots in Fort Worth’s Historic Southside.
“This is just the culmination of 25 years, even 30 years of growth and development. And this is why I am convinced — and I’m a person of faith — I am convinced that this is bigger than myself,” he said.
Sandra Sadek is a Report for America corps member, covering growth for the Fort Worth Report. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @ssadek19.
Dr. Whitnee Boyd is a member of the Fort Worth Report’s Reader Advisory Council.
At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.
Jarred Howard Bio
Birthplace: Fort Worth (Dorsey Hospital, last baby born there)
Moved to Fort Worth: Born and raised.
Family: Wife, two kids
Education: Bachelor of business administration at the University of North Texas; Master of business administration at Dallas Baptist University.
Work experience: CEO of the National Juneteenth Museum (since April 2023); External affairs for Bell Flight (January 2020-April 2023); Senior vice-president of entrepreneurship at the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce (April 2018 – January 2020); BNSF Railway (June 2006 – March 2018); DaimlerChrysler Financial Services (January 200 – June 2006).
Volunteer experience: Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce, YMCA, Jubilee Theatre, North Texas LEAD. He’s also involved in his local church.
First job: Six Flags
Advice for someone learning to be a leader: “People usually don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
Best advice ever received: “I reflect light much better than I emit it.”