RALEIGH, N.C. – A North Carolina Highway Historical Marker honoring George H. White will be erected on Saturday, Jan. 29, in Tarboro. White was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1896 and again in 1898, and was the only African American then in Congress. The passage of a controversial amendment in North Carolina that denied voting rights to black citizens, and discriminatory actions by other former Confederate states, meant no blacks from the South would be elected to Congress again until 1972.
As part of the eighth annual George White Day, former Congresswoman Eva Clayton will speak at the Edgecombe County Administration Building auditorium in Tarboro. The highway marker will be placed at Main and Granville streets at 11 a.m.
White lived in Tarboro and represented the Second Congressional District. In his famous farewell speech to Congress given on Jan. 29, 1901, White stated that “Phoenix-like, he [the Negro] will rise up some day and come again [to Congress].” The Phoenix Historical Society in Edgecombe County is sponsoring the day’s program.
While serving in Congress, White introduced the first bill condemning lynching. He appointed many blacks to federal positions and was attentive to local issues. After completing his second term, White moved from Tarboro to Philadelphia, Pa. His Tarboro house at 300 Granville St. is still standing.
For additional information on the White Day program, call James Wrenn at (252) 641-0294. For information on the N.C. Highway Historical Marker Program (www.ncmarkers.com), call (919) 807-7290.
The N.C. Highway Historical Marker Program is part the Office of Archives and History in the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, the state agency with the mission to enrich lives and communities, and the vision to harness the state’s cultural resources to build North Carolina’s social, cultural and economic future. Information on Cultural Resources is available 24/7 at www.ncculture.com.
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