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Prosser, Inez Beverly (1897–1934)

Louella H. Tate Biography Entry

Inez Beverly Prosser, teacher and administrator and one of the first black women to receive a Ph.D. in the United States, the oldest daughter of eleven children of Samuel Andrew and Veola (Hamilton) Beverly, was born in Yoakum, Texas, in 1897. She was the valedictorian of her class both in high school and college. In 1912 she graduated from Yoakum Colored High School, where she later taught for a brief period. After receiving a degree in teacher training from Prairie View Normal College, she accepted a teaching position in Austin, where she graduated with distinction from Samuel Huston College with a major in education. She married Texan Rufus A. Prosser. Enabled by the award of a General Education Board Fellowship in 1934, she obtained a master of arts degree in educational psychology from the University of Colorado. While teaching education at Tillotson College, she was recognized as an excellent teacher and leader. In 1929–30 she coordinated a series of lectures that featured a visit by George Washington Carver. She served as the dean and registrar from 1921 to 1930, when she accepted a teaching and administrative position at Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Mississippi. She received a Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Cincinnati in 1933. Her dissertation, The Non-Academic Development of Negro Children in Mixed and Segregated Schools, was one of the earliest treatises on the social domain of elementary school children. Inez Prosser was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha and the African Methodist Episcopal Church. She established a fund to enable her sisters and brothers to obtain a college education. All of them completed high school, and six of them completed college. In 1934 she was killed in an automobile collision near Shreveport, Louisiana. In recognition of her contribution to Texas culture, she was recognized at HemisFair `68 in San Antonio.

Ruthe Winegarten, Finder's Guide to the`Texas Women: A Celebration of History' Exhibit Archives (Denton: Texas Woman's University Library, 1984).


  • Education
  • Educators
  • Teacher Education
  • University Presidents and School Administrators
  • Peoples
  • African Americans
  • Women

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

Louella H. Tate, “Prosser, Inez Beverly,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed February 25, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: