Mildred Crow Sargent grew up in Nashville, Tennessee and moved to Detroit, Michigan at the age of 19 with her husband and young son to work at Woodall Industry where she helped to build the Curtiss Wright Helldiver. She was extremely proud of her work, and very good at her job; she and her partner received a commendation for being the fastest riveters on the line, and were often left to work without supervision. Coming from the segregated south, Mildred had never interacted much with African Americans before moving to Detroit, but at Woodall she worked alongside a black man and seeing his experience during the Race Riots of 1943 gave her a new perspective on race and discrimination. After World War II, she moved back to Nashville and worked on the B52 at Vultee Aircraft and raised her children. Working as a riveter gave her the means to put herself through college and graduate school. She has published three scholarly books.