Walter White (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: As the chief administrator of the NAACP during many of its formative years, White helped pave the way for the monumental changes that advanced U.S. civil rights and race relations in the second half of the twentieth century.
Walter White was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on July 1, 1893. In many ways, his youth differed from that of Atlanta’s other black children. One of seven children born into a religiously devout middle-class family, he apparently experienced few material hardships. His father, who worked as a mail carrier, provided for his family a commodious and well-maintained home not far from Atlanta’s downtown area. A family library exposed Walter to many of the great books and gave him an appreciation for literature that influenced him throughout his life. Attending grade school at Atlanta University afforded him an opportunity for formal education beyond the eight grades of public schooling open to the city’s other black youths. He graduated college at the same institution in 1916.
In other ways, life for White in Atlanta paralleled that of other southern black people. Although White was blond, blue-eyed, and so fair-skinned that he could pass for white, he refused to do so and was himself subjected to Jim Crow indignities. Raised in an era when color and race truly mattered, White witnessed daily how the system emasculated black people. More traumatic, he...
(The entire section is 2075 words.)
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