White, Walter Francis
- Kenneth Robert Janken
civil rights leader, was born in Atlanta, Georgia, to George White, a mail carrier, and Madeline Harrison, a former schoolteacher. The fourth of seven children, White, whose parents had been born in slavery, grew up entrenched in black Atlanta's leading and most respected institutions: his family attended the prestigious First Congregational Church, and he received his secondary and collegiate education at Atlanta University, from which he graduated in 1916. (His siblings enjoyed similar religious training and educational opportunities.) With blond hair, blue eyes, and a light complexion, White was a “voluntary Negro,” a person who could “pass” for white yet chose not to do so. His black racial identity was annealed by the Atlanta riot of September 1906 For three days white mobs rampaged through African American neighborhoods destroying property and assaulting people the thirteen year old White realized as he put it in his ...
A version of this article originally appeared in African American National Biography.