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Katherine Bennett

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Information about Katherine Bennett

Profile image of Katherine Bennett

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
SportsMakers
Occupation(s):
Academic Administrator
College Basketball Coach

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Pink, Yellow
Favorite Food:
Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Cruises
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
10/17/1922
Birth Location:
Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
SportsMakers
Occupation(s):
Academic Administrator
College Basketball Coach

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Pink, Yellow
Favorite Food:
Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Cruises
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
10/17/1922
Birth Location:
Elizabeth City
See how Katherine Bennett is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Women’s sports pioneer and educator Katherine Howard Bennett was born on October 17, 1922 in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. She was raised by a single mother who worked as a sorter and mender in a laundry. In 1940, Bennett earned her high school diploma from P.W. Moore High School, where she was a member of the debate team, band and drama club.

From 1940 until 1944, Bennett attended North Carolina A & T University where she encountered her first female athlete. Intrigued by the world of sports she immersed herself in athletics. Bennett, along with twins Mable and Inez Scott, were A & T’s first majorette team. She was also a member of the drama club, band, debate team, volleyball, tennis and gymnastics teams. Bennett also joined the Women’s Athletic Association and participated in “National Sports Day,” a weekend of sports for black, female college students. In 1944, Bennett earned her B.S. degree in English and health & physical education. She later returned to school, receiving her master’s degree in health education in 1947 from New York University and earning her doctorate in 1977 in physical education from Virginia Polytechnic University.

After earning her B.A. degree, Bennett taught physical education at Rosenwald School in South Mills, North Carolina. From 1947 until 1953, she worked as a health and physical education professor at Hampton Institute. In addition to teaching, Bennett also coordinated the women’s athletics program. In 1953, her husband was hired as the head football coach at Virginia State University; she followed him and began working as a professor of health and physical education. That same year Bennett created and established the Officiating Board and Women’s Officials at VSU. In the late 1950s, Bennett created guidelines that would ultimately lead to incorporating women’s athletics into to the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association or CIAA. In 1968, Bennett coached the first competitive women’s basketball team at VSU, and in 1975 she directed the first CIAA women’s basketball tournament at Virginia State. In 1977, Bennett was appointed chairperson of the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation at VSU, the first woman to hold this post. That same year, Bennett became the first coordinator for women’s sports at Virginia State. In 1989 she was inducted in the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. Bennett retired from Virginia State in 1992.

Bennett passed away on December 20, 2009 at age 87.

See how Katherine Bennett is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Katherine Bennett's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Katherine Bennett lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Katherine Bennett describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Katherine Bennett talks about living with her extended family while growing up in Elizabeth City, North Carolina
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Katherine Bennett describes childhood memories from Elizabeth City, North Carolina
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Katherine Bennett describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood in Elizabeth City, North Carolina
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Katherine Bennett talks about the role of music in her childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Katherine Bennett recalls her experiences at Banks Street Elementary School in Elizabeth City, North Carolina
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Katherine Bennett talks about attending St. Stephen Missionary Baptist Church in Elizabeth City, North Carolina as a child
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Katherine Bennett recalls her experiences attending P.W. Moore High School in Elizabeth City, North Carolina
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Katherine Bennett describes her experiences at Negro Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina in Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Katherine Bennett describes her favorite extracurricular activities from high school and college
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Katherine Bennett talks about playing sports at Negro Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Katherine Bennett talks about her first jobs after graduating from Negro Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina in 1944
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Katherine Bennett talks about how she met her husband, HistoryMaker William Maurice Bennett
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Katherine Bennett describes her tenure working in the physical education department at Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Katherine Bennett talks about joining the physical education department at Virginia State College in Petersburg, Virginia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Katherine Bennett describes her experiences as a referee and teacher at Virginia State College in Petersburg, Virginia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Katherine Bennett recalls the results of the implementation of Title IX on women's sports, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Katherine Bennett recalls the results of the implementation of Title IX on women's sports, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Katherine Bennett talks about the increase in popularity of women's sports after Title IX
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Katherine Bennett describes the leadership roles she took later in her career at Virginia State College in Petersburg, Virginia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Katherine Bennett talks about whether Title IX has caused funding issues in college athletic departments
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Katherine Bennett reflects on the success of Title IX
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Katherine Bennett describes her proudest achievements as a professor at Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Katherine Bennett talks about achieving an Ed.D. at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Katherine Bennett talks about the National Sports Day Association
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Katherine Bennett describes her involvement with cotillions for the Beaux-Twenty club in Petersburg, Virginia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Katherine Bennett shares her thoughts about the growth of professional sports for women
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Katherine Bennett describes her tenure as head coach of the women's basketball team at Virginia State College in Petersburg, Virginia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Katherine Bennett talks about being inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Hall of Fame
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Katherine Bennett reflects on the progress of women's sports
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Katherine Bennett describes her concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Katherine Bennett reflects upon the importance of history
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Katherine Bennett reflects upon her life, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Katherine Bennett talks about running the majorette squad at Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Katherine Bennett describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Katherine Bennett reflects upon her life, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Katherine Bennett narrates her photographs, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Katherine Bennett narrates her photographs, pt. 2