Henrietta Beasley Foster was a librarian at Douglass and Moon schools in Oklahoma City from 1934-1968. For 34 years she encouraged and inspired generations of students to improve their lives and their community. She modeled community service for them in her own life as well, giving her time unselfishly to her church and the less fortunate around her. This was never more true than in her retirement years. Concerned about the quality of life in her neighborhood and seeing deterioration in the buildings and services around her, she formed the Harrison-Walnut Neighborhood Association to fight back against the destruction of her community.
Through Henrietta’s charismatic leadership, several community organizations came together to save this building, which was built in 1951 as the Eastside YMCA, the only Y open to African Americans in Oklahoma City during segregation. Her organization saw the building as a center for family- and youth-oriented services focused on alleviating longstanding community problems and providing recreation and learning opportunities for people in the area. Henrietta never got to see her dream become reality, but within a week of her passing, the Oklahoma City Council renamed the building in her honor.