Hazel Bernice Harvey Peace, educator, community activist, humanitarian, and philanthropist, was born on August 4, 1903, in Waco, Texas, to Allen H. Harvey and Georgia Mason. (Her birth year is given incorrectly in numerous sources as 1907). A graduate of the Fort Worth Colored High School (later I. M. Terrell High School) in Fort Worth in 1919, she obtained her B. A. degree in education at Howard University in Washington, D.C. in 1923 and began her teaching career at I. M. Terrell High School in 1924. She also received an M.A. from Columbia University and did postgraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin, Vassar College, Hampton University, and Atlanta University. Her teaching career spanned nearly fifty years. Peace not only educated her students but prepared them to succeed in life. After retiring from the Fort Worth Independent School District in 1972, Peace served as director of student affairs at Bishop College in Dallas for the next decade. She also taught at Paul Quinn College in Waco, Huston-Tillotson College in Austin, and Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View.
During Peace's early tenure as an educator, the public libraries were not always accessible to African-American patrons. In an effort to encourage her students to read, Peace checked out books for her students. When she started a debate team at I. M. Terrell High, she checked out books from the local universities to prepare her students for competitions. In 2000 the Fort Worth Central Library named its youth center in honor of Peace. In 2004 the University of North Texas School of Library and Information Sciences established the Hazel Harvey Peace Professorship in Children's Library Services to continue Peace's dedication to literacy by training future educators of children's librarians. The $350,000 professorship was the first at a state-funded, four-year institution in Texas to be named in honor of an African-American woman.
Peace was editor of the Texas Standard, an official publication of the Colored Teachers State Association of Texas. She was a life member of the Texas State Teachers Association and was active in many civic groups in the Fort Worth area. A life-time educator, Peace was dedicated to the service of fighting for social justice and an advocate for the homeless. When asked how she accomplished so much, Peace offered the following advice, "Start early and quit late." Peace was recognized with numerous awards and honors, including the Tarrant County College's President's Cup Award, the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Fort Worth Independent School District, the United Way of Metropolitan Tarrant County's Hercules Award, and an honorary doctorate of humanities from Texas Wesleyan University. Peace was a torchbearer in Fort Worth for the 2002 Winter Olympics as the Olympic torch made its way to Salt Lake City. Peace was also named Honorary Alumna of the University of North Texas, and the I. M. Terrell High School Class of 1965 established the Hazel Harvey Peace Scholarship Fund in her honor.
Peace was a member of Baker Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Fort Worth, one of the city's historic African-American churches. Hazel Harvey Peace died on June 8, 2008, in Fort Worth and is buried at Cedar Hill Memorial Park in Arlington. She was preceded in death by her husband, Joe Peace, who died in 1959. Hazel Harvey Peace's influence as a teacher, counselor, and friend will continue to impact future generations of children. She inspired excellence in the lives of those she touched and left a legacy of "lead by educating and by example." In 2009 Fort Worth opened the Hazel Harvey Peace Center for Neighborhoods, a new municipal building that is a central part of the Evans and Rosedale Business and Cultural District revitalization project, and in 2010 the Fort Worth Independent School District opened Hazel Harvey Peace Elementary School.
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Baker Funeral Home program, "In Memoriam of Hazel Harvey Peace, 1907–2008." CBS11TV.com, "Texas Educator Hazel Harvey Peace Dead at 100" (http://cbs11tv.com/local/Hazel.Harvey.Peace.2.744015.html), accessed November 25, 2008. Dallas Morning News, June 10, 2008. Fort Worth Star-Telegram, June 11, 12, 2008. Katie Sherrod: Desert's Child, "Honoring Hazel Harvey Peace" (http://wildernessgarden.blogspot.com/2007/08/honoring-hazel-harvey-peace.html), accessed November 25, 2008.
Dallas/Fort Worth Region
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Gayle W. Hanson,
“Peace, Hazel Bernice Harvey,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed June 27, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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