Friendly R. Rice Photograph Album
An Inventory of the Collection
Friendly Rudolph Rice, commonly known as "F.R.," was a longtime leader of Blackshear Elementary School in Austin, Texas. Born in 1907 in Haywood County, Tennessee to Ezekiel Rice and Mary Drake Rice, he was one of twelve children. He went to high school in Jackson, Tennessee and then attended Lane College before transferring to Prairie View A&M College in Texas where he earned his bachelor's degree in 1931. W. R. Banks of Prairie View recommended that Rice work as a principal in the Austin school district. Rice began his career Austin ISD while concurrently working on his Master's degree at Columbia University, which he completed in 1938.
In 1931 Rice began his long career at Blackshear Elementary School. He was assistant principal and then principal there until 1972, and also served as assistant principal at Rosewood Elementary School from 1934-1948 and as principal at St. John's Elementary School from 1948-1960. He was known as a progressive educator and implemented many innovative ideas. For example, he initiated the hot lunch program at Blackshear which was later adopted throughout the district. In 1934 when he established the library at Blackshear, it was the first library at a black elementary school. Other services he brought to the school included home and family life training, visiting teachers, dental and nursing services, and a clothing bank, and he strongly encouraged parental involvement. He organized luncheons to bring together community leaders and the school district Board of Trustees. His educational philosophy focused on the idea of the wheel, saying that all the spokes of a wheel must provide equal support and turn together for the wheel to work, just as all the "organizational facets" (activities and programs) of a school must work harmoniously for the children to succeed. The inner circle of his metaphorical wheel included 28 activities and the outer circle represented ideal results for students and teachers, such as physical fitness, critical thinking, enthusiasm, and 15 others. At times throughout his career he served as president of the Teachers State Association of Texas, president of the State Principals Conference, chairman of the Board of Trustees TSAT, state representative to the National Education Association, and member of the National Elementary Principal Association. In 1985 the F.R. Rice Secondary School located at 2406 Rosewood Avenue was named in his honor. (The school district later sold this school property.)
In 1930 Rice had married Johnnie Mae Yates of Houston. They had one daughter, Vonnie Margaret Rice. When the family moved to Austin they joined the Ebenezer Baptist Church where Rice worked as a deacon and trustee. The couple also created the Board of the Ebenezer Child Development Center. Additionally, Rice was a member of the Mt. Bonnell Lodge #2, the Webb Smith Consistory #269, Travis County Voters League, NEA, and NAACP. He died in 1990.
A photo album of 60 photographs documents the life and career of Friendly R. Rice from 1927 to 1967. The majority of photographs are black and white but three are in color. Photographs include a collage of graduating students and faculty at Merry High School in 1927; school yearbook portraits of Rice from throughout his career; faculty at Blackshear Elementary School; candid scenes and events at Blackshear; officers and members of the Executive Committee at Prairie View; personal snapshots of Rice and his wife; African American teachers in Austin Independent School District; members of Ebenezer Baptist Church; a birthday party for Rice; other unidentified events.
Individuals identified in the photos include (in the order they appear): Morine Douglas, Ruth Toliver, Hazel Fowler, Alice Hill, Mable Carter, Rev. A.R. Evans, Myrtis Allen, Mary Lynn Gregg Bragner, Erise Hodge, Izella Van Dyke, Linda Williams, Becky Grover, Florence Temple, Carol Sanders, Ankey Kirk, Lillie Williams, Mary Elizabeth Lovelady, Billie Fai Adams, Laurie Jones, Irby Carruth, M.L. Pickard, Teresa McCall, Eva Lyles, Lillie C. Rambo, E.A. Johnson, Iris Price, T.C. Calhoun, W.B. Campbell, Reginald Corley, James Mosby, Izentetta Tears, E.E. Yerwood, Anna Reeves, M.E. Durden, Bessie Stewart, Ada Collins, J.H. Pickard, Maggie Washington, Coley Stewart, Henry Doyle, Earl Swisher, Drucie Aldridge, Ruth McAllister, Lillian Berwell, Isaac Craig, Dean Jones, Arthur DeWitty, Mildred Alexander, Vivian McDonald, Fannie Ruth Houston, Rosby King, Mrs. Larry Moore, Juanita Van Dyke, Della Cadd, Emery Ates, Stella Walker, Bertha Means, Lillie Williams, Webber Smith, Naomi Galloway, Nola Chase, Gloria Mitchell, Vonnie Rice, and Alice Houston.
It is unclear who made the photo album and when, however a note inside the back cover indicates captions were added by Judy R. Arnold and Janie P. Harrison in 1993.
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Open to all users.
Restrictions on Use
The Austin History Center (AHC) is the owner of the physical materials in the AHC collections and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the AHC before any publication use. The AHC does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners. Consult repository for more details.
The photo album was donated by Carol Howard, librarian at Blackshear Elementary School.
Friendly R. Rice Photograph Album (AR.2015.017). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: DO/1993/063
Donation Date: 1993 July 10
Finding aid created and encoded by Nicole Davis/March 2015.
Detailed Description of the Collection