Dr. James Navarro Wardell

1989 Greater Flint Afro-American Hall of Fame Inductee

Category: GOLF

Wife: Muriel McClendon Wardell
Daughter: Paula Renee Wardell
Son: James McClendon Wardell

When James Wardell came to Flint in 1941, history was in the making.

When Jim entered Flint Northern and wanted to participate on the golf team, he didn’t receive very much encouragement. He did, however, raise some eyebrows and in 1946 Jim became the first black golfer in the history of Flint high schools and Saginaw Valley. For three years (1946, 47, 48) at Northern he recorded a number of records. He won medalist honors in golf matches, he was the first black captain of a golf team, and the most valuable player for those three years.

Because there were no scholarships available in golf for blacks, Jim enrolled at Flint Junior College (Mott Community College). In 1950, Flint Junior College was Conference Champions and runner-up in 1951.

In 1947, Dr. Wardell was runner-up in the Flint Jr. Golf Association Tournament and that same year he participated in the Negro National Tournament in Detroit.

In 1948 he just missed being named to the Flint team to represent Flint in the State Jr. Chamber of Commerce Tournament.

A lover of golf, James was extremely proud of his accomplishments at Northern and in city and area tournaments. He never golfed in a flamboyant style. Therefore, many did not know how great he was.

James continued to pursue his education at Wayne State University and later at Meharry Medical College where he received his degree. He is now a practicing gynecologist.