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Tour Tuesday: Hazel Harvey Peace Elementary School

Hazel Bernice Harvey Peace, known as the matriarch of I.M. Terrell High School and the namesake of Hazel Harvey Peace Elementary, was an educator, community activist, humanitarian, philanthropist, and prodigy. Her staggering legacy of accomplishment and wisdom impacted the course of Fort Worth ISD and changed countless lives for the better. 

In 1921 Peace graduated from high school at age 13 in Fort Worth. She attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., where she joined Alpha Kappa Alpha, the first black sorority in the U.S. Graduating in 1923, Peace, still a teenager, returned to Fort Worth to teach at her alma mater, which had been renamed I.M. Terrell High School.   

During breaks, she attended summer classes at Columbia University in New York, residing at the YWCA in Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance. After earning her master's degree from Columbia, she continued her postgraduate work at the University of Wisconsin, Vassar College, Hampton University, and Atlanta University.  

Hazel Harvey married Joe Peace, a local contractor and Tuskegee Institute graduate, but retained her maiden name and was always known by her full name, Hazel Harvey Peace. She devoted her life to her students and community, working at Terrell from 1924 until its closure in 1972 due to desegregation.  

"Everybody knew that they had to give Hazel Harvey Peace the respect that was demanded,” recalls Opal Lee, a former student and protégé. 

Spending nearly 50 years at the school, Peace taught various subjects, including English, drama, debate, and history. She established a children's theater and debate club at I.M. Terrell.  

Through her efforts, the school gained recognition for its world class college-prep and fine arts curriculum. 

"Next to our principal, she came first, and when she spoke, we listened," says Lee. "When Ms. Hazel Harvey Peace spoke, you listened, and she didn't have to raise her voice. She said 'young lady, young man,' [and] you knew to stand at attention and get that information that she was putting out. She was somebody." 

After retiring, Peace held administrative roles at historically Back Institutions: Bishop College, Paul Quinn College, Huston-Tillotson College, and Prairie View A&M University. She retired from education in 1981 and passed away on June 8, 2008, at 100.  

In 2009, the city of Fort Worth named its newest municipal building the Hazel Harvey Peace Center for Neighborhoods in honor of her advocacy. In 2010, Fort Worth ISD opened Hazel Harvey Peace Elementary School on 7555 Trail Lake Drive.