Lincoln High has legacy of athletic, academic talent

Posted

Sumter’s Lincoln High School produced many athletes who excelled in both academics and athletics. Two exceptionally talented young men were Richard Singleton and Lindberg Moody.

These young men demonstrated exceptional ability while in high school and garnered the attention of the community. They also participated in several school and community activities, bringing honor and distinction to their school and city.

Singleton, “who made a name for himself while playing football for Sumter’s Lincoln High program, returned to his hometown to play for his collegiate team in the annual Thanksgiving Day football game hosted by Morris College.” Moody “professed that football was his first love but due to his ‘light’ size turned to basketball to satisfy his love for sports.” He proved to be an excellent student, with plans to become a mechanical engineer.

In December 1953, Singleton was a member of the Lincoln football team that was successful in winning the initial Gamecock Bowl. Lincoln won the contest 19-6 over an excellent Mullins team. “A pass from Singleton to Spann accounted for the first score, and Lincoln added two more touchdowns to seal the victory.”

Singleton, Mack Jackson and Ernest Spann, “three outstanding seniors of Lincoln High School football, were selected to play on the Lower South Carolina 11 in the statewide senior Negro All-Star Football game.” They spent the week as guests of Allen University and Benedict College and were joined by players from teams in Upper and Lower South Carolina. The athletes trained for five days before the big clash at Hurst Field in Columbia.

The game was planned by the coaches and athletic directors of several high schools in South Carolina with the cooperation of the athletic departments from Benedict and Allen. These schools donated the use of their facilities and coaching staffs with the proceeds from the game going to Shriner’s Hospital for Crippled Children in Greenville.
In addition to his athletic endeavors, Singleton, along with Clara Bracey, represented Lincoln at the interscholastic Press Conference at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, in May 1952. While at the conference, the two students received instruction from several top men and women in the field of journalism. The students were privileged to work with editors from The Ladies Home Journal, The Minneapolis Spokesman, The Missouri Legionnaire and The Cleveland Post. Lincoln High was proud that one of its representatives, Singleton, “was cited for excellence in reporting during the workshop and his work received first-place mention in the Headliner, the daily publication of the workshop.”

The other Lincoln High student was a “quiet, unassuming 16-year-old senior named Lindberg Moody. ... His first love was football but being wiry and on the light side, he turned to basketball to satisfy his love for sports. He experienced early success as a member of the Savage-Glover Elementary Championship Basketball Team. During his junior high days, he was forbidden to play by his aunt because of suspected health concerns. However, he resumed his athletic career in the ninth grade and ended his first season scoring an average of 20.1 points. From that point he continued to grow and develop.”

Lindberg worked on increasing his speed, skills and coordination before he entered high school. Playing against Colleton High, he scored a remarkable 46 points and later registered 53 points against Whittemore High, elevating his average to a staggering 34.9 points per game.
Moody was described as “a coach’s dream.” He continued to develop his speed and ability to shoot from long range as well as in close.
He was described as a team player, never seeking laurels for himself. His academics kept pace with his athletics, as he maintained a strong “B” through elementary and high school. Although there were numerous demands for his time, he managed to have several years of perfect attendance.

His athletic career did not diminish his involvement in community and church activities. “He was a member of Mount Zion Methodist Church and taught Sunday school for several years. He was also a participant in the church choir. During school, Lindberg served as senior class president and was a member of the Quill and Scroll and the French Club. He also found time to serve as co-editor of the school paper, The Echo. Moody anticipated entering college after graduation, eyeing a major in electrical engineering.

The information and photos used in preparing this article were taken from The Sumter Item archives.

Reach Item Archivist Sammy Way at waysammy@yahoo.com or (803) 774-1294.