Opinion: George Henry White Panel Discussion Questions
Compiled January, 2013 by: Vincent Spaulding
Listed below are several questions that have been recommended for use in framing a panel discussion on George Henry White (GHW) after the showing of the documentary video on his life and legacy; GHW: AMERICAN PHOENIX.
*What is your impression of GHW based on your viewing of the video? Do you think that he made contributions to society that are worth remembering and should be noted in the mainstream of black history events, publications, and museums?
* Of all of the black heroes most of us are familiar with…Booker T. Washington, Fredrick Douglass, Martin Luther King, etc., what things do they share in common? For examples: (a) broke barriers, (b) did something to advance the race, (c) broke stereotypes, (d) were risk takers, (e) good leadership skills, etc. What do these black heroes share in common that resulted in them becoming well known black heroes?
* When it comes to GHW’s accomplishments, do you feel that his accomplishments measurer up to the accomplishments of other black heroes? Follow-up questions: What has kept him from gaining and keeping the recognition given other black leaders? Do you believe the fact that GHW was a Republican has had an adverse impact on him being remembered? Note: The Democrats were the party of white supremacy until the New Deal. The Republicans were a party of relative support for civil rights until 1950s.
* If GHW’s life is worth remembering, why have so few people ever heard of him when he was, once the most well known black North Carolinian, i.e. became erased from modern public memory?
* Do you think that his forthright, demanding, and unyielding personality and his confronting Booker T. Washington’s call to work within the segregated system, had any impact upon his place in national history?
* What is the meaning of GHW’s legacy and other black leaders of his era, for current and future generations of America? e.g. meet adversity with determination to succeed or when doors are closed, reinvent your self, and never give up.
* How might the life and contributions of GHW best be resurrected from virtual obscurity?
* Whose role and responsibility is it to maintain the history of GHW and other black politicians of the Reconstruction and post- Reconstruction eras?
* Why should whites as well as blacks in North Carolina have a better understanding of the life and times of GHW -- one of its most prominent native sons of the late 19th. Century?
* Why is it that Tarboro and Edgecombe County --- once the center of black political activity in the post-Reconstruction South --- has largely been forgotten for its role in Reconstruction and Fusion politics.
* What sets GHW apart from most of his contemporaries?
*What does his legacy mean for the 21st century?
*What impact of black history not being taught in schools, nowadays, have upon the legacy of GHW and other black heroes? Note: You only hear and learn about black history during black history month in February.
*Do you have any recommendations on actions our foundation and others should take to promote public knowledge of GHW?
* I have heard it stated that GHW’s farewell speech to Congress is just as significant as the MLK “I have a dream speech”. What is your opinion?