Raymond Eugene Carreathers, African-American educator and civic leader, son of Henry and Maggie (Smith) Carreathers, was born in Clarksville, Red River County, Texas, on May 28, 1921. Carreathers grew up on farms in Red River and Lamar counties. He attended public schools in both of those counties and graduated from Detroit High School in western Red River County in 1939 as valedictorian of his class. Although his family was not wealthy, Carreathers was able to take advantage of a New Deal program, the National Youth Administration, to pay for college. He entered Prairie View State Normal and Industrial College (now Prairie View A&M University) in June 1939 and worked in the campus laundry. Carreathers graduated from Prairie View four years later with a bachelor of science degree in agricultural education.
By 1943 the United States was in the midst of World War II, and Carreathers was drafted into the United States Army as one of the 103 members of the Prairie View Enlisted Reserve Corps. He served with the 777th Field Artillery Batallion and rose from private to the rank of major by the end of the war. The 777th arrived in France in September 1944 and participated in many important movements against German lines. In March 1945 the 777th crossed the Rhine River into Germany—it was one of the first black units to do so.
Following his service in World War II, Carreathers returned to Northeast Texas. In August 1946 he married Ernestine Thurston in Grayson County. The couple had two children, daughter Denise and son Kevin. Carreathers also taught agriculture and served as principal at Booker T. Washington High School in Bonham. He was sponsor of the New Farmers of America chapter at Washington and was instrumental in guiding many of his students to college. He also supported the New Homemakers of America chapter. While maintaining his duties as principal at Washington, Carreathers pursued graduate work during the summer. He attended the University of California-Berkley and the University of Colorado and finally earned his master’s degree in education in 1956 from Southeastern State University in Durant, Oklahoma.
After Booker T. Washington High School closed due to integration in 1966, Carreathers served as assistant superintendent of the Bonham school district and also taught in Gilmer and Paris. By 1970, however, he returned to his alma mater, Prairie View A&M, as professor of educational administration. During this time, Carreathers continued to pursue his own education as well. He eventually earned his doctorate of education from East Texas State University in 1981. His dissertation, “A Study of the Critical Requirements of the Chief Student Personnel Officer in the Public Senior Colleges of Texas,” reflected years of research and personal experience at Prairie View as vice president for student affairs, a position he held from 1976 until his retirement in 1986.
Retirement for Carreathers did not equate to inactivity. He helped run Amistad II University Bookplace, a business interest he shared with his wife and daughter. He also became active in the local politics of Prairie View, Texas, during this time. From 1987 to 1995 Carreathers served on the Prairie View City Council and was instrumental in procuring a grant to pay for a water treatment plant for the city. In 1998 he ran for mayor and won. He served one term and returned to private life in 2002.
Raymond Carreathers died July 14, 2003, after a lengthy battle with lung cancer. One of his former students, Judge Joe Dale, described Carreathers by saying, “If it was up to Prof, he would have had the whole world educated.”
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Greater Houston Weekly, August 6, 2003. Houston Chronicle, July 20, 2003. Ulysses Lee, The Employment of Negro Troops (Washington, D.C.: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1966). Don Mooney, “Raymond Carreathers remembered,” North Texas e-News (http://www.ntxe-news.com/cgi-bin/artman/exec/view.cgi?archive=3&num=8808&printer=1), accessed August 16, 2012.
School Principals and Superintendents
Politics and Government
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
William C. Yancey,
“Carreathers, Raymond Eugene,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 18, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
May 14, 2013
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: