2007 Regular Session
By: Representative Perkins, Flaggs, Blackmon, Cockerham, Coleman (29th), Evans, Fredericks, Huddleston, Malone, Myers, Scott, Whittington
A RESOLUTION COMMENDING THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF MS. WILLYE B. WHITE, THE FIRST AMERICAN AND AFRICAN-AMERICAN FEMALE TO APPEAR IN FIVE OLYMPICS AND EXPRESS OUR SYMPATHY UPON HER PASSING.
WHEREAS, the world lost an athletic icon when Willye B. White, the first American and first African-American female to appear in five Olympics, passed this life at age 67; and
WHEREAS, in 1981, the State of Mississippi recognized the athletic contributions made by Ms. White by inducting her into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame; and
WHEREAS, although she passed as a Chicago resident, she was a daughter of the Mississippi Delta, because she was born in the tiny Mississippi Delta town of Money and raised in the Greeenwood area; and
WHEREAS, she was an exceptional athlete and enthusiastically exhibited her athletic prowess during a time when it wasn't all that socially acceptable for girls to excel in sports; and
WHEREAS, in spite of the times, she broke loose from the poverty of the Delta and attended Tennessee State University from 1959-1962 and achieved national acclaim with the same Tigerbelle team that produced Wilma Rudolph; and
WHEREAS, she was often called Tom Sawyer because she ran barefoot just as well as she did in shoes; and
WHEREAS, as history tells us, she abandoned running barefoot to become a polished, amazing athlete; and
WHEREAS, as evidence of her polished talent, she appeared in every Olympics between 1956 and 1972, winning two silver medals, one in the long jump in 1956 and the other in the 4x100 meter relay in 1964; and
WHEREAS, it is the policy of the House of Representatives to recognize and commend native Mississippi athletes who have contributed to history by gaining national acclaim in their sport:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, That we commend the life and legacy of Ms. Willye B. White, the first American and first African-American female to appear in five Olympics and express our sympathy upon her passing.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That copies of this resolution be furnished to the family of Ms. Willye B. White and members of the Capitol Press Corps.