Mildred McDaniel (b. 1933)
Atlanta native Mildred McDaniel excelled in basketball and gained fame in track and field
Once on the team McDaniel found she loved basketball and was very good, often earning high scorer honors. In the off-season most basketball players competed in track and field, but again she was uninterested. The school's track coach, Marian Armstrong-Perkins, who had already sent three athletes to the Olympics, persuaded her to come watch track practice. While observing a girl practice the high jump, McDaniel commented to herself that the girl could not jump. Armstrong-Perkins overheard McDaniel and challenged her to jump. She was soon hooked and added hurdles, the broad jump, and the relay team to her repertoire. Besides capturing two state championships in basketball, McDaniel won state titles in the eighty-yard hurdles, the high jump, and the long jump.
After graduating from high school in 1952 McDaniel enrolled at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, where she concentrated on the high jump under Cleveland Abbott, a Hall of Fame coach.
In 1957 McDaniel graduated with a degree in physical education, was named Woman of the Year (Atlanta), won the AAU's Sullivan Award for sportsmanship, and had her picture on a postage stamp in the Dominican Republic. In 1958 she married Louis Singleton and moved to California, where she taught and coached for more than thirty-two years. She was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1983 and the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1983.
Michael D. Davis, Black American Women in Olympic Track and Field: A Complete Illustrated Reference (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 1992).
A. D. Emerson, Olympians against the Wind: The Black American Female Difference (New York: Welcome Rain, 1999).
David L. Porter, ed., Biographical Dictionary of American Sports (New York: Greenwood Press, 1988).
Lisa A. Ennis, Georgia College and State University
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