Carr, Clarence Franklin (1879–1939)

By: Mark B. Buchy

Type: Biography

Published: March 20, 2013

Clarence Franklin Carr, African-American Dallas educator, was born on February 26, 1879, in Oakwood (Leon County), Texas, to Alex and Fannie (Jordan) Carr. After completing his primary education in the Crockett, Texas, public schools, Carr went to Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio, where he served as a student-teacher in Latin and algebra during his junior and senior years. While at Wilberforce he also befriended poet and playwright Paul Lawrence Dunbar and cultivated his own love and talent for poetry. In the early 1900s Carr settled in Palestine, Texas, with his wife Mary A. Carr (Mamie). In 1907 Prof. Nathaniel A. Banks, principal of the Fourth Ward Colored School in Palestine, resigned, and Carr took over the position. He served twelve years at that school, which was later renamed Lincoln High School. In 1918 he was awarded the honorary degree of masters of arts from Wilberforce University. Carr became principal of Dallas Colored High School in 1919 and served for approximately sixteen years for various schools in Dallas; he also became the first principal at the new Booker T. Washington High School located on Flora Street and, in 1924, principal of J. P. Starks Elementary.

Carr was an accomplished poet who wrote more than 100 poems. Hailed as a “chief among the Negro pioneer verse-makers of Texas,” Carr was the first African American in Texas to give itinerant recitals of his own compositions. His favorite poem was “When Dad Cooks Soda Biscuits.”

Carr served as president of the Colored Teachers’ State Association of Texas (later Teachers State Association of Texas) from 1917 to 1918. He was an active member of Bethel AME Church. C. F. Carr Elementary School at 1952 Bayside Street in West Dallas is named after this African-American pioneer of education. Carr died on April 3, 1939, and was buried at the Hillside Cemetery.

J. Mason Brewer. Heralding Dawn (Dallas: Superior Typesetting Co., June Thomason, Printing, 1936).Dallas Morning News, February 24, 1987. Palestine Daily Herald, July 20, 1907. The Texas Standard, 9 (April–September 1935) (, accessed March 29, 2012.  

  • Education
  • School Principals and Superintendents
  • Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
  • Literature
  • Poets
  • Peoples
  • African Americans
  • Educators
Time Periods:
  • Late Nineteenth-Century Texas
  • Progressive Era
  • Great Depression
  • Texas in the 1920s
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas
  • North Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Mark B. Buchy, “Carr, Clarence Franklin,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 20, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

March 20, 2013

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