Historians, Advocates Gather To Celebrate The Forgotten Legacy Of George Henry White | Old North State Wealth News
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Historians, advocates gather to celebrate the forgotten legacy of George Henry White



BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Historians and change makers from across the state and nation gathered at the George Henry White Memorial Health and Education Center on Saturday to remember the life of George Henry White. A native of Rosindale, NC, White was the last black US Senator after reconstruction. 

White also founded the city of Whitesboro in New Jersey as a place for black families to live peacefully, many of whom fled Wilmington following the 1898 massacre and coup.  

Earl Ijames is a curator at the North Carolina Museum of History and has worked closely with the project to bring White’s story to the museum. He said the lack of documentation on White’s life is representative of a larger suppression. 

“George Henry White is almost a microcosm of the Reconstruction Era, and being the last black congressman of Reconstruction, as you come into the 20th century, and establish legal segregation and Jim Crow, there’s a concerted effort to blot out all that history,” he said. 

Ben Justesen authored a biography on White. He said gathering firsthand information about White’s life was a next to impossible. 

“A lot of what was in the book was based on research and archives about other people, because I never found his private papers,” he said. 

Advocates and historians gather at the George Henry White Memorial Health and Education Center to celebrate White’s legacy. (Photo:Nate Mauldin/WWAY)

The George Henry White Center was founded in his birth county to raise awareness about his extensive legacy and place in history. The center was built out of a renovated farmhouse that sat empty for years.  

Project leader Vincent Spaulding was instrumental in establishing the center, and is also a descendant of the Spaulding family that raised white. He said renovating the house was far from easy. 

“When we started the construction, really didn’t have any idea how we were going to do it, but it just seems like something would always happened at the right moment for somebody to come through with a recommendation or a point of contact, and they help us out. And that happened over and over again to get it done,” he said. 

Some may call it luck, but Spaulding believes it was much more than that. 

“That’s how it worked out. Just that divine intervention. Just the power of, just the power of faith.” he said. 

To learn more about the George Henry White Memorial Health & Education Center, visit the center’s website. 

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