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Prairie View Interscholastic League

1940 PVIL Champs Ft. Worth I.M. Terrell - Johnny Kennard and quarterback Kelton Winston.
1940 PVIL Champs Ft. Worth I.M. Terrell - Johnny Kennard and quarterback Kelton Winston.
Dr. C.D. Yancy
Dr. C.D. Yancy, Director of the Prairie View Interscholastic League.

The Prairie View Interscholastic League (PVIL) played a leading role in developing African American students in the arts, literature, athletics and music from the 1920's through 1967.

Originally called the Texas Interscholastic League of Colored Schools, the PVIL served as the governing body for extra-curricular activities for Texas' African American high schools. The history of the Prairie View Interscholastic League began in 1920 when the League was organized by the Colored Teachers State Association of Texas and the Negro School Division of the State Department of Education. In 1923 the TILCS came under the authority of Prairie View A&M College, thereby becoming the Prairie View Interscholastic League. The structure and format was similar to the University Interscholastic League (UIL). PVIL competition included athletics, typing, declamation, music and extemporaneous speaking.

The PVIL staged state championship games in football, basketball, baseball, and track. At its peak, it enrolled 500 schools. Many famous former PVIL students include Barbara Jordan, Gene Upshaw, Charley Taylor, and Joe Greene. The PVIL proudly served as the main academic and athletic competition organization for Texas' African American students for half of the 20th Century.

The move towards merging the two leagues began on October 14, 1964 when Dr. Howard A. Calkins of the UIL State Executive Committee introduced, and the full committee approved a motion urging the Legislative Council to remove the word "white" as a membership requirement for schools.

On January 26, 1965, PVIL Director Dr. C.D. Yancy and UIL Director Rodney J. Kidd met to discuss the feasibility of opening membership to all schools.

On June 9, 1965 the UIL State Executive Committee validated the Legislative Council's decision to open league membership to all public schools. The PVIL began to merge with the UIL at the start of the 1967-68 school year and disbanded at the end of the 1969-70 school year.

Nevertheless, the contribution made by PVIL students, teachers and coaches is extraordinary and established a legacy that continues to enhance the value of athletic, academic and music competition in Texas.

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