Preserve the Past and Remember the Glory: The History of the Prairie View Interscholastic League (PVIL)
The African American History Research Center at the Gregory School

1300 Victor Street, 77019 | 832-393-1440
July 1, 2023 – December 30, 2023

Photo from exhibit of Washington High School track team and coaches

The University Interscholastic League (UIL) was established by the University of Texas in 1910 to make rules and settle disputes for academic and athletic competitions at white high schools in Texas. Recognizing a need for a separate organization for Black high school students, the Texas Interscholastic League of Colored Schools (TILCS) was created in 1920 by the Colored Teachers State Association of Texas and the Negro School Division of the State Department of Education. The TILCS changed its name in 1923 to the Prairie View Interscholastic League (PVIL) when it came under the control of Prairie View A&M College. 

Modeling itself after the UIL, the PVIL held its own competitions for Black high school students in athletics, typing, declamation, music, and extemporaneous speaking. Starting with 40 schools, the PVIL quickly grew to include 300 schools by 1927 and enrolled 500 schools at its peak. PVIL participants include Houston’s Barbara Jordan (Phillis Wheatley High School), the first African American U.S. Congresswoman from the Southern United States. In 1965, the UIL opened membership to all public schools and the PVIL was disbanded at the end of the 1969-70 school year.

This exhibition features documents, photographs, and vintage uniforms and trophies from the Special Collections & Archives Department (SCAD) of the John B. Coleman Library at Prairie View A&M University and the Prairie View Interscholastic League Coaches Association.

This exhibit is free and open to the public. Exhibit dates are subject to change.