Hazel McDaniel Teabeau was born in Arkansas in 1892, and she received her BA in English from the University of Kansas in 1915. Her interest in social causes and concern for civil rights are prevalent in her accomplishments. In 1937, she joined the Lincoln University English Department faculty, where she taught for twenty years. While on sabbatical from Lincoln University, Teabeau became the first black woman to enroll at the University of Missouri. She enrolled there at the age of 57 to seek a PhD in Speech and Dramatics, and in 1959 she became the first black woman to receive a doctorate from the University of Missouri.