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In Memoriam: Claudia Mae McBride

NOVEMBER 15, 1923 – MAY 25, 2023

Claudia Mae McBride

Claudia Stewart McBride passed away peacefully and comfortably in her Independent Living Apartment at Fox Run Estates, Arlington, Texas, Thursday, May 25 at age 99. She was born and raised in Hempstead, Texas, the only child of Chris and Thelma Stewart. Claudia was the great-granddaughter of George Hill and granddaughter of Henry Vickers, who were among the first African American farmers and landowners in Waller County, Texas in the 1870s.

Claudia’s parents taught her that education was the key to freedom and independence. She graduated from Sam Schwarz High School in Hempstead, Texas in 1941 and completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from the historically Black College, Prairie View A& M University in 1945. She returned to Prairie View in 1970 and completed her Master of Arts Degree in Education. Claudia was the first person in her family to graduate with a college degree. She began her teaching career in small, one room, segregated country schools in East Texas and in the suburbs near Dallas: Liberty, Newton, Ferris, Garland and Itasca.

Claudia married Ulysses McBride, an educator in the Dallas Independent School District in 1946 and from this union two children were born, Cecelia and Ulysses, of whom she was most proud. Ulysses attended the HBCU Grambling State University where he was in the world famed Tiger Marching Band. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree, he joined the Marines and later became a State Trooper. Cecelia Received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the HBCU Prairie View A&M University, Master’s degree from the University of Missouri, Doctorate from the University of Kansas, and became a College Professor.

In 1957, three years after the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court Case that led to the desegregation of schools, Claudia was hired as the first African American teacher in the Mesquite Independent School District. She taught Music and remained the only Black teacher for twenty-five years. It was during her teaching career in Mesquite that she became an international traveler through membership in the Theta Alpha Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, travelling to England, France, Italy and Spain. She was the first African American member of the group.

Claudia’s strong faith and dedicated Christian life included several churches over the years: Greater New Zion, Greater New Bethel, Peoples Baptist. During the last twenty-five years of her life, she was a devoted member of Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church where she attended weekly Sunday School, Bible Study, and served in the WMU and on the Mother Board.


After retiring from teaching, Claudia joined the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in South Dallas and began volunteer work as Coordinator of the monthly bulletin boards, birthday parties, and the caretaker of plants and flowers. She also worked as a volunteer at the Good Street Baptist Church Pantry. Her hobbies included reading, knitting, and shopping for her favorite high-heeled shoes.

Claudia Stewart McBride was an African American pioneer educator in Texas, loving wife, mother and grandmother who lived a full life through nine decades of societal changes: the Great Migration, the Great Depression, the Great War (WWII), the Civil rights Era, and the election of the first African American President, Barack Obama.

Claudia is survived by her children: Ulysses and Cecelia; grandchildren: Conner Grant, Tyler (Rachel), Marlo, Kristen, Lorraine; and great-grandchildren: Jordynn, Reina, and Theodore Sebastian.

A memorial service for Claudia will be held Saturday, June 10, 2023 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM at Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church, 1819 North Washington Avenue, Dallas, TX 75204. Following the memorial service will be a committal service from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM at Laurel Land Mem Park – Dallas, 6300 S. R.L. Thornton Frwy., Dallas, TX 75232.

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