Graves, Lucille Sugar Barton (1917–1993)

By: Alwyn Barr

Type: Biography

Published: October 22, 2013

Lucille Sugar Barton Graves, private school founder and the first African American admitted to study at Texas Tech University, was born to Henry and Harriette (White) Barton at Waxahachie, Texas, on April 17, 1917. She completed elementary school and high school there before earning a bachelor of science degree from Butler College at Tyler, Texas.

She married Julius Caesar Graves, Jr., and they became the parents of a daughter, Cecille Joyce, and a son, Julius Caesar Graves III. After living in Wichita Falls, Texas, the Graves family moved to Lubbock in 1952. Three years later she established the Mary and Mac Private School (named after a nursery rhyme)—the only private school for African-American children in Lubbock. Graves began the school at the kindergarten level and then expanded it to elementary and secondary levels.

In 1961 Graves became the first African-American student admitted to Texas Technological College (now Texas Tech University) after local NAACP leaders had discussions with university administrators. At Texas Tech she worked on her master’s degree. The University of Houston later awarded her a doctorate of humanities degree.

Graves also became a founding member of the Greater New Light Baptist Church and of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority chapter in Lubbock. She provided leadership for Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and a 4-H Club at Mary and Mac School. Other civic activities included serving on the Small Business Administration advisory board, the Court of Calanthe, the Barbara Jordan Senior Citizens group, and as a precinct chair for the Democratic Party.

Graves died on February 13, 1993.

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Mrs. Lucille Graves, Oral History Interview, May 23, 1974, Lubbock, Texas, Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University. Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, February 18, 1993. Katie Parks, comp., Remember When? A History of African Americans in Lubbock, Texas (Lubbock: Friends of the Library/Southwest Collection, 1999). Southwest Digest, February 25, 1993.
  • Education
  • Peoples
  • African Americans
  • Educators
  • Women

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

Alwyn Barr, “Graves, Lucille Sugar Barton,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 06, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

October 22, 2013

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