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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.

Lisa Carrico

Graphic: red and black logo of Houston Public Library's One Houston One Book initiative


UPDATE: The author event with Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam has been rescheduled to Thursday, June 29, 2023.


Mayor Sylvester Turner and Houston Public Library (HPL) announce a new citywide reading program: One Houston, One Book: Diverse Stories for a Diverse City. This new program highlights stories that celebrate our diverse backgrounds and experiences. Featured books are aimed at readers’ interest by age; they include Yangsook Choi’s The Name Jar, now considered a children’s literature classic; Punching the Air, a novel in verse for teens, by Ebi Zoboi and Dr. Yusef Salaam; and a memoir, Once I Was You, by award-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa.


“Houston is the most diverse city in the country, but one in three adults in Houston has low literacy skills,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “This program will help Houstonians come together and support each other through reading and conversation. Having discussions about our varied life experiences will celebrate everything that makes Houston special.” The Mayor's Office for Adult Literacy, which has become a national model for how cities can have an impact on low literacy rates, is providing additional books for the program to engage individuals reading at various proficiency levels.  


Library Director Rhea Brown Lawson calls One Houston, One Book, “A citywide celebration of diversity and equitable access to HPL’s free resources and services. We eliminated late fines for overdue items this year, and with barriers removed, we designed a reading program to bring Houstonians together like never before. Celebrating Houston’s diversity and HPL’s free access is what One Houston, One Book is all about.” 


One Houston, One Book launches May 15 and continues through September with programming that includes block parties, read-ins, library open houses, book clubs and storytimes at library locations. The authors of the selected books are visiting Houston for a series of special events.  


Co-authors Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam discuss their novel for teens on June 13. Yangsook Choi shares her story for children virtually on July 27. Maria Hinojosa reflects on immigrant experiences in her memoir on July 29.  




Launched in 2019 by Mayor Sylvester Turner, the Mayor’s Office for Adult Literacy (MOAL) advocates for adult literacy and spreads awareness of the impact literacy has on our economy, communities, families, and individuals. MOAL promotes and builds capacity for adult literacy and education in the City of Houston. Collaborating with a network of over 40 adult literacy providers, MOAL focuses on basic skills, financial and health literacy, digital literacy development, workforce skills development, and services to people with learning differences. For more information on the Houston Adult Literacy Blueprint visit

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