Township officials honored George Henry White with an historical marker relating his accomplishments at the corner of Route 9 and Main Street in Whitesboro on Wednesday, December 18th, the 161st anniversary of his birth.
A founding member of Whitesboro, which was named for him, White had a remarkable career following his birth in North Carolina in 1952. After serving as the only African-American member of the 55th Congress of the United States and the last black congressman from the Reconstruction Era after the Civil War, White left North Carolina when he recognized that people of color would not have an equal opportunity in that state after it instituted literacy tests for black voters.
After leaving Congress in 1901, he moved to Philadelphia, where he practiced law and began creating institutions to help black citizens. He established the People's Savings Bank in 1906, the city's first black-owned commercial bank, which helped members of the black community start businesses, save for education and finance land purchases. He ultimately helped to found Whitesboro in Middle Township, NJ, where black residents could progress and pursue their dreams.
As noted in the marker in his honor, "During his post congressional career, George Henry White served as honorary trustee for Howard University; was on the board of Berean Manual Training Institute, and was also a trustee of North Carolina's Biddle University. He also served on the board of directors of Frederick Douglas Hospital and as a director of the Home for the Protection of Colored Women. An early leader in the NAACP, he stayed active in politics and became assistant city solicitor for Philadelphia in 1917."
It's interesting to note that the many members of the Spaulding family in this area today, all of whom had their roots in North Carolina, have a direct connection to White, whose step-mother was a Spaulding.