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Dodd, Frederica Chase (1893–1972)

Jennifer Bridges and Ruth Winegarten Biography Entry

Frederica Chase Dodd, renowned Dallas teacher and social worker, was born on November 3, 1893, to Frederic and Fannie Chase in Dallas, Texas. Frederic Chase was a successful attorney in Dallas, and Fannie was a teacher. Frederica graduated from Dallas Colored School No. 2 (later called Booker T. Washington High School) in 1910 and began her collegiate studies at Howard University in Washington, D.C. While at Howard, she helped establish Delta Sigma Theta in 1913, along with twenty-one other women, and served as the sorority’s first sergeant-at-arms. She graduated from Howard University in 1914 and returned to Dallas to teach English at the future Booker T. Washington High School.

On June 20, 1920, Frederica Chase married John Horace Dodd, a Dallas physician and Howard University Medical School graduate. There is no record that they had children. In 1926 she created a Dallas Alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, which became the first Greek letter organization in the city of Dallas. The chapter was originally known as the Eta Beta Chapter. Frederica attended Atlanta University School of Social Work and began a new career in social work in the 1930s. She began working with the Dallas Family Bureau or United Charities, and in 1931 during the Great Depression she began serving as director of a city social welfare office for Blacks called the Emergency Relief Station. Frederica became a counselor for the Family Service of Dallas in 1936 and worked there until her retirement in 1961. Her career in social work made her one of the first Black social workers in Texas.

In addition to teaching and social work, Frederica Dodd served the Dallas community by helping to establish a YWCA branch, which initially began as an after school group and eventually expanded into the Maria Morgan Branch. She was also involved in the Priscilla Art Club. In honor of her lifetime of work in Dallas, the Frederica Chase Dodd Scholarship was established, which is offered to Dallas County Public School African-American females in the top 25 percent of their class. Frederica Chase Dodd died in Dallas on January 21, 1972, and is buried in Lincoln Memorial Cemetery.

Julia K. Gibson Jordan and Charlie Mae Brown Smith, Beauty and the Best: Frederica Chase Dodd, The Story of a Life of Love and Dedication (Dallas: Dallas Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, 1985). Gregory Parks, Black Greek-Letter Organizations in the 21st Century: Our Fight Has Just Begun (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2008). Ruth Winegarten, Black Texas Women: 150 Years of Trial and Triumph (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1995).


  • Education
  • Activism and Social Reform
  • Advocates
  • Educators
  • General Education
  • Peoples
  • African Americans
  • Women

Time Periods:

  • Progressive Era
  • Great Depression
  • Texas in the 1920s
  • World War II
  • Texas Post World War II


  • 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.

Jennifer Bridges and Ruth Winegarten, “Dodd, Frederica Chase,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed February 27, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: