Robert Tenneson McDaniel was born in Fort Worth, Texas and named after his fraternal grandfather, a Fort Worth physician. Mr. McDaniel earned a scholarship to Prairie View University when his career was interrupted when he was drafted.
Mr. McDaniel entered the military in 1943 and was accepted into the Aviation Cadet Training Program at Tuskegee Institute. He served his country as a Flight Officer with the 477th Bombardier Group. While continuing training at Indiana’s Freeman Field, he was turned away from the officers’ club. He and other black officers defied a direct order and repeatedly tried to enter the club. They were arrested and threatened with court martial, which could have carried the death penalty during wartime. The men eventually were exonerated, and the Freeman Field incident helped lead to the integration of the military.
At the end of the war, Robert returned to Prairie View University and then went on to the University of Colorado, earning a BS (Mathematics/Chemistry), MS (Mathematics/Educational Administration) and Counselor Certification. Robert began his teaching career in the Ft. Worth ISD in 1949. During his career he served as Mathematics teacher, volunteer Coach and Counselor at IM Terrell Jr./Sr. High School; Vice-Principal at Dunbar Jr./Sr. High School and Principal at James E. Guinn and Morningside Middle School.
The District inducted him to the Wall of Fame in 2009, along with another Terrell alumni and Tuskegee Airman, Capt. Claude Platte, who served as a flight instructor during the war. Platte, who served in the Air Force until 1965, died in 2013.