|Prairie View Interscholastic League Coaches Association
"Remembering the Past With Pride"
For 50 years, beginning in 1920, the Prairie View Interscholastic League governed academic, athletic, and band competitions
for black high school students in Texas. Working with limited resources, the PVIL produced numerous outstanding students
who became successful citizens, athletes, entertainers, and more, from U.S. Representative Barbara Jordan (Houston
Wheatley) to choreographer Debbie Allen (Houston Yates) to Pearl Harbor hero Doris Miller (Waco Moore) and six members
of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Now, Michael Hurd, historian and author ("Black College Football, 1892-1992") and also a PVIL alumnus (E.E. Worthing,
1967), is documenting the PVIL's rich history and you can help. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org with your memories of
attending a PVIL school and send images (for careful scanning and return) to be used in the book. Or, print and complete
this short questionnaire and submit to the PVILCA.
Help tell the world what proud, successful people came out of PVIL schools and celebrate an enduring statewide and global
Click on the image to view a brief video about the PVIL and its memorabilia
The exhibit is housed in the Marvin C. Griffin Bldg., 1009 E. 11th St , Austin
|What Do You Know About the PVIL? Have
some fun and test yourself with this
crossword puzzle on PVIL history -- which
was not just about sports.
This site celebrates the Prairie View Interscholastic League which existed from 1920 to 1970. The PVIL was the governing body for academic, athletic, and
music competitions for black high schools in Texas during the state's segregationist era. In its 50-year existence, the PVIL produced numerous outstanding
coaches, athletes, students, and citizens. On these pages, you will find records, images, profiles of schools, coaches, players, and more. Despite the social mood
of the era, during the PVIL's peak its 500 member schools -- with all-black enrollments -- had lively, exciting, and proud competitions which were as
entertaining, passionate, and fierce as any in the land.
Eli Reed, an award-winning photographer and documentary
filmmaker, has produced a 15-minute clip about the PVIL
featuring former football players at Central High School in
Galveston. This clip is the first for what will be a longer and
more in-depth film about the history of the PVIL. Click here or
on the image to view the clip.
PVIL: The Video
Joseph Leslie "Joe" Sample
Jazz pianist great and Houston Wheatley (PVIL) grad, 1939-2014
Joe Sample, a giant among jazz pianists and 1956 graduate of Houston's Phillis Wheatley High School, passed away at age 75 on Sep. 12 in
Houston as a result of mesothelioma.
Sample teamed with Wheatley classmates Wayne Henderson (trombone), Wilton Felder (saxophone), and drummer Nesbert "Stix" Hooper to
form the Jazz Crusaders in the 1960s and the group became wildly successful and critically acclaimed almost from their start. Ironically,
Henderson passed away in April of this year.
The group's style was originally hard (bluesy) bebop, but eventually would cross and blend many musical boundaries particularly jazz, R&B,
and funk. Despite their popularity with fans, the Crusaders' style, with Sample moving from acoustic to electric piano, often drew criticisms from
jazz purists though Sample had grown up listening to jazz, blues, country and other music styles.
"Unfortunately, in this country, there's a lot of prejudice against the various forms of music," Sample told the Los Angeles Times in 1985. "The
jazz people hate the blues, the blues people hate rock, and the rock people hate jazz. But how can anyone hate music? We tend to not hate any
form of music, so we blend it all together. And consequently, we're always finding ourselves in big trouble with everybody."
Sample was born on Feb. 1, 1939, in Houston, the fourth of five siblings, and began playing piano when he was 5. At age 16, he entered
Texas Southern University and studied there for three years before the Jazz Crusaders left Houston for Los Angeles to begin the group's
phenomenal career. The Crusaders had numerous hit albums and one Top 40 single, "Street Life," with vocalist Randy Crawford, which reached
No. 36 on the Billboard pop chart in 1979.
Recently, he had been working with his bassist son Nicklas, had worked with a reunited version of the Crusaders, his own Joe Sample Trio,
and led an ensemble called the CreoleJoe Band, a zydeco group. Sample, a Catholic, had also been collaborating on a musical, "Quadroon,"
which had a reading in July at the Ensemble Theater in Houston. "Quadroon" is based on the life story of Henriette Delille, the founder of The
Sisters of The Holy Family, the first Order of African American Catholic Nuns. Henriette is currently up for Canonization as the first U.S., native
born, African American Saint.
His first true solo album "Rainbow Seeker" was released in 1978 and his last recording, "Children of the Sun," is set for release this fall.
Sample was a leader or sideman on multiple gold and platinum albums and was popular as a studio musician. Among the albums on which his
keyboard work can be heard are Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On," Tina Turner's "Private Dancer," Steely Dan's "Aja," and several recordings
by B. B. King. His music has been used in various Films, TV Shows, and advertisements, becoming one of the most "sampled" in the industry,
including Tupac Shakur's "Dear Mama."
Sample was an advocate for education for inner city youth and founded the nonprofit Joe Sample Youth Organization dedicated to raising
funds for Houston's five inner-city African-American Catholic schools. The organization's major fundraising event is the annual Henriette Delille
Legacy Concert featuring the Joe Sample Trio, held in Galveston's Grand 1894 Opera House.
"I wouldn't attempt to do what Bono [from U2] is doing with AIDS and poverty on a worldwide level," he says. "I couldn't do anything like that.
But I am very concerned about schooling in the United States today. I think our young people are being betrayed, and I want to do something
Before Wheatley, Sample attended Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church and School, which his father, Alexander Sample, helped to found 76
years ago. "Our Mother of Mercy was one of the first Creole Catholic schools here...Throughout the years, with all of my travels and everything, I
never forgot about the early education that I had there. It was home for me," he said.
His survivors include his wife, Yolanda; son, Nicklas and wife Victoria; three stepsons, Jamerson III and wife Kimberly, Justin, and Jordan
Berry; six grandchildren, Canon and Holiday Sample, Jamerson IV, Karissa, Jase, and Jaden Berry; and a sister, Julia Goolsby.
In lieu of flowers etc., the family asked that donations be made to the Joe Sample Youth Organization, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit. Contributions
can be made via pay-pal or credit card or by check to: The Joe Sample Youth Organization, P.O. Box 590254, Houston, TX, 77259.