Nanie Belle Jenkins Aycox, teacher and college president, was born in Crockett, Texas, the daughter of Alonza R. and Hattie M. Jenkins, both of whom were East Texas teachers. She attended elementary and secondary school in Crockett, Livingston, Houston, and Trinity. After receiving a teaching certificate from Prairie View State Normal and Industrial College (now Prairie View A&M University) in 1921, she earned a bachelor's degree from Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in Hampton, Virginia (1928); a B.S. in education from the University of Illinois, Urbana (1933); and an M.A. in education at the University of California at Berkeley (1936), where she did further graduate work in the summer of 1952. She also did research at Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama.
Mrs. Aycox taught at Alcorn College in Mississippi (1923–35) and directed the teacher-training program there. After leaving Alcorn she taught at Prairie View State College (1936) and Samuel Huston College (seeHUSTON-TILLOTSON COLLEGE). She also taught in the public schools of Texas and Louisiana. As a Jeanes Fund supervisor in Travis and Harrison counties she visited rural black schools to introduce training in home economics, promote sanitation and hygiene, organize contests in athletics and industrial work, help improve school facilities, and establish Mothers' Clubs and Parent-Teacher associations. In 1938 she was president of the state organization of Jeanes teachers. She also taught at Tillotson, Wiley, and Bishop colleges. From 1946 to 1951 she served as president of Paul Quinn College in Waco. In September 1951 she joined Texas Southern University as an assistant professor of elementary education, a position she held until July 1958.
In 1950, 1951, and 1954 Mrs. Aycox served as a state officer in the Colored Teachers State Association of Texas, and in 1955 she served as president of the successor organization, the Teachers State Association of Texas. In the mid-1950s she served on the board of the Texas Commission on Race Relations. The commission operated under the auspices of the Southern Regional Council to help communities make a peaceful transition to desegregated schooling. During Mrs. Aycox's term as president of the Teachers State Association of Texas, the TSAT undertook a cooperative study with the commission to examine ways of improving integration and race relations. She also served as secretary of the Houston Commission on Race Relations.
Nanie Aycox was a member of AKA sorority and of St. Luke Independent Methodist Church in Huntsville, where she was director of publications and her husband was pastor. She died at her home in Houston on December 11, 1974. The funeral service was held at St. Luke, and burial was in the Trinity Cemetery in Trinity, Titus County. Mrs. Aycox was survived by her husband, a stepdaughter, a brother, and two sisters.
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Dallas Morning News, March 9, 1948. Houston Post, December 14, 1974. Vernon McDaniel, History of the Teachers State Association of Texas (Washington: National Education Association, 1977). Texas Standard, January–February 1954, May–June 1955. Trinity County Historical Commission, Trinity County Cemeteries (Burnet, Texas: Nortex, 1980). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin (Paul Quinn College).
Activism and Social Reform
Civil Rights, Segregation, and Slavery
Physical Education, Home Economics, and Health
World War II
Texas Post World War II
Dallas/Fort Worth Region
Upper Gulf Coast
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Mary M. Standifer,
“Aycox, Nanie Belle Jenkins,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 19, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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