Chalkboard Champion and Actress Myra Davis Hemmings

Many chalkboard champions have enjoyed successes in fields other than education. One such individual is Myra Davis Hemmings, a teacher of English and drama at Phyllis Wheatley High School in San Antonio, Texas. Myra’s career as an educator spanned fifty-one years, but she can also boast about significant accomplishments in theater and film.

This gifted teacher and actress was born in Gonzales, Texas, in 1887, the daughter of Henry Davis and Susan (Dement) Davis. After graduating from Riverside High School in San Antonio, Texas, in 1909, Myra enrolled in Washington D.C.’s all-black Howard University. During her college years, Myra had the distinction of being president of both the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. She graduated from Howard in 1913 and immediately began her career in the classroom.  Later, Myra returned to the university to earn her master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Speech Department in 1947. In her later years, she was a national vice president, a former regional director, and an active member of the National Council of Negro Women. She was also a member of the NAACP.

In 1922, Myra married John W. Hemmings, a former Broadway actor. As a drama teacher, Myra directed plays from the 1920s to the 1950s at the Carver Community Cultural Center in San Antonio. She also became active as a director in the San Antonio Negro Little Theater.She and her husband helped to organize the Phyllis Wheatley Dramatic Guild Players. In addition to all this, the talented teacher appeared in three films.

Myra  Davis Hemmings passed away in San Antonio in 1968. She was 73 years old. Both the classroom and the theater miss this chalkboard champion greatly.