Vernon McDaniel

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Vernon McDaniel
Born 1907?
Died November 2, 2000
Pensacola
Occupation Educator
Spouse Mildred McDaniel

Dr. Vernon McDaniel (1907?-2000) was an African-American educator who was principal of Booker T. Washington High School from 1934 to 1944. In 1941 he was the plaintiff in a federal NAACP lawsuit against the Escambia County School Board to mandate equal pay for black teachers. Realizing the court would decide for McDaniel, the school board agreed to a settlement that would equalize salaries over a three-year period. He was dismissed from his position three years later.

McDaniel later traveled and advised politicians (including President John F. Kennedy, whom he met with two days before his assassination) about desegregation and civil rights issues in education. He became a professor at Tuskegee University and in 1965 earned a doctorate in education from New York University. He then served as vice-president of Bishop College in Dallas from 1967-75.

McDaniel returned to Pensacola in 1975 and ran for the School Board, becoming the first African-American to be elected to the position and then its first African-American chairman.

The school district's Vernon McDaniel Building on Garden Street was named for him on October 5, 2000. He passed away less than a month later, on November 2, at age 93.