The Life and Legacy of Overseer R. L. Braziel

By Travis Braziel


R. L. Braziel became one of the first women to found and pastor a church during the civil rights era in Houston, TX. Photo courtesy of Travis Braziel.

On November 9, 2005, Ruby Lee Braziel, my grandmother, suffered a mild stroke in her home and was rushed to Houston’s St. Luke’s Hospital. When I returned home from school, my father, Darwin Allen Sr., told me what had happened – sad news that any grandson would hate to hear. Several thoughts flooded my mind at once. Why on my birthday of all days? What would happen to my grandmother’s church now that her ability to pastor might be altered? More importantly, why had it not occurred to me that she was just as human as anyone else?

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Lord Jesus Christ Holiness Church 54th-0536

Pastor Pamela Allen with her mother, Overseer R. L. Braziel. Photo courtesy of Travis Braziel.

Play the audio clips below to listen to excerpts from Travis Braziel’s  interview with Pastor Pamela Allen, daughter of Ruby L. Braziel, aka the “Overseer.”

Travis Braziel: We understand that in the earlier fifties, Overseer got saved under the preaching of Bishop Barnes. Eventually she felt that God was calling her to preach. Could you elaborate on the challenges she faced as a woman preacher in that era?
Pamela Braziel touches on her mother’s calling to pastorship during the civil rights era, a time of toil and tension for a woman pastor.
Since the construction of her first church and until three years after it was built, Ruby Braziel knew she was called upon. However, because of the era in which she lived, she continuously sought male pastors to lead the church. Listen as her daughter Pamela Allen discusses the “Overseer’s” challenges with preaching.
Pamela Allen remembers her mother’s knowledge of business and Braziel Tire Services, the local business Braziel and her husband opened at 7138 Scott Street. 


Play the clip below to hear Travis Braziel’s brief historical overview of The Lord Jesus Christ Holiness Church, the church founded by his grandmother, R. L. Braziel.





First location of The Lord Jesus Christ Holiness Church, built 1962 at 3717 Barberry Drive, Houston, TX (left). Second location of The Lord Jesus Christ Holiness Church, built 1982 at 3701 Barberry Drive, Houston, TX (right). Photos courtesy of Travis Braziel.

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