Sports in high school weren’t always created equal. An exhibit at the African American Museum in Dallas shows this in black and white.
“Back then, we went to black schools,” Robert Brown, president of the Prairie View Interscholastic League Coaches Association, told some museum visitors. “Each black school was called ‘Colored high’.”
Brown grew up in the segregated school system in Texas, at a time when the Prairie View Interscholastic League was helping give young black student-athletes the path to success.
“Sport took us to a different level. Took us to college,” Brown said. “I coached for 48 years.
Souvenirs from the PVIL are on display at the African American Museum in Dallas in an exhibit titled “The Story of the Prairie View Interschool League: Black High School Sports in Texas in the Age of Segregation.”
The PVIL was formed in 1920. It lasted until 1970. The exhibit features everything from vintage helmets and Chuck Taylor shoes to black and white photos from when schools and sports were. in black and white.
“Not only were we capable as blacks, but hey, we could outdo some of the whites,” said Brown. “Once you realize that… you don’t have to have segregation. “
Brown said it was important for people to see the exhibit and learn about the history of PVIL in Texas.
“We are still waging civil war in some places,” Brown said. “It’s important because if you don’t know where you’re from, you don’t know where you’re going.”
The exhibit at the African American Museum in Dallas runs through February 15, 2022.