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was born William D. Davenport in Troy, Alabama. He was the oldest in a family of seven children. In 1952 his family moved to Warren, Ohio. One of the few African American students at Howland High School in Warren, Davenport recalled being “a loner with a sour attitude” until achieving success in athletics (Encyclopedia of Alabama). He competed in all sports, especially loved baseball, but found his niche in track and field. Initially a 100-yard-dash man, Davenport turned his attention to the 120-yard high hurdles during his junior year, an event in which he won the Howland Local School District title in 1960. As a senior he established a high school record of 14.2 seconds in the 120-yard high hurdles.

After graduating high school in 1961, Davenport enlisted in the United Sates Army. Stationed in Mainz, West Germany from 1961 to 1963 he became a ...


Adam R. Hornbuckle

Born in Troy, Alabama, Willie D. Davenport was educated at Southern University. His specialty was the indoor 60-yard high hurdles race, which is not an Olympic event. In the 60-yard hurdles, he won the United States national title five times (1966, 1967, 1969–1971).

Davenport also attained success in the outdoor high hurdles event, which in the United States at that time was either 110 m or 120 yards, depending on the year. At the 1964 U.S. Olympic trials, Davenport, then a United States Army private, was the unexpected winner in the 110-meter hurdles race. Hampered by a thigh injury, he failed to qualify for the finals at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. Davenport won the 120-yard hurdles event at the U.S. national track-and-field championships the next three years (1965–1967 and he earned a gold medal in the 110 meter hurdles at ...


Jason Philip Miller

was born Vonetta Jeffries in Birmingham, Alabama, the only girl of four children, to James and Bobbie Jeffries. Her father left the family when she was very young, so Flowers and her brothers were raised by their mother. From an early age she was athletic, excelling particularly at track and field events. At Jonesboro Elementary she came to the attention of a recruiter from a state youth track program when she achieved what was easily the best time in a race held in the school’s parking lot. The recruiter famously assumed that Flowers—denoted on his sheet only by her initials—must have been not only older than the other children, but also a boy. Flowers went on to attend Birmingham’s P. D. Jackson-Olin High School, where she continued to excel as a track athlete and was chosen for the All-State team. She was also All-State in basketball. She graduated in 1992 ...