The George Henry White

Memorial Health & Education Center

What is the George Henry White Memorial Center?

The establishment of the GHW Memorial Health and Education Center facilitates the establishment of a monument in Bladen County where the late Congressman GHW was raised during his youth, and will highlight his courageous stand for racial justice in the face of public apathy.  This community center will also provide a location in Bladen County to highlight the rich history of the Farmer’s Union Community, and its surrounding neighbors, i.e. St. James, Bolton, Pembroke, and other surrounding communities.  


The Center will also help improve the lives of the citizens of the community by serving as an education center where they can attend classes on preventive health care, GED preparation, financial management, community empowerment and a variety of other subjects. Public and private donations are being solicited to help finance and support the operations of the project.  

The BESDF, Inc., which is a nonprofit group established for educational, literary, and charitable purposes
among other functions, is leading the project. Tax-deductible contributions to support the project are
welcome and should be provided to BESDF, Inc. as follows:


BESDF, Inc, Attn: GHW Center
7 Jenee Lane
Durham, NC  27703-2563              
Tax ID: 56-2068902


Why the George Henry White Memorial Center is needed:

In a vastly underserved area, much of the work of filling in the gaps is taken up by the various church communities.  They perform many functions that are nothing short of heroic, and they have the added benefit of being able to draw upon shared beliefs and practices.

However, there is also a need for a civic space, that can be used by anyone in the community, for many functions that are not within the faith framework.  The public schools are closed during the summer, weekends and evenings.  Other public buildings have similar time or usage restrictions.  We need a space that can be used for things that serve the community at large--including all the different churches--but also can incorporate elements at the secular level.  Health care, education, history, civic meetings, youth groups, celebrations and artistic projects can be delivered to the general public through an easily accessible civic space.  

The George Henry White Memorial Center can be owned by the entire community, and can serve as a public space that can be used by the people, for the people.  Whether the need is a place for elderly to access services, or for tutoring, or for workforce training, the Bladen and Columbus country area will only benefit by having a center usable by all people in the community.

Renovation overview:

The estimated cost to fully renovate the house, landscaping, and provide intended amenities is approximately $137,172.   A representative of the North Carolina Museum of History has agreed to serve as an adviser to our foundation as we move through the steps necessary to bring this project to full reality.  Since the project was introduced in July, 2014 and work stared during CY 2015, the following work has been accomplished and was paid for by donations totaling $97,772:

  • The metal roof has been repaired and a major section replaced.

  • The exterior siding has been repaired, primed, and painted with a high-quality paint.

  • The exterior windows have been repaired and secured with security bars.

  • The four exterior doors have been secured with high-security storm doors and master-keyed.

  • The building interior has had wood framing, plumbing and finish work done for installation of two bathrooms with one equipped for handicap persons.

  • The interior of the building has had structural deficiencies repaired.

  • The interior floors and walls that don’t need additional work have been refinished and painted.

  • The building has temporary electrical service installed with an electric meter and plans are underway for installation of permanent electrical service.

  • Wall and base kitchen cabinets and countertops have been installed and kitchen appliances have been purchased and installed.

  • Installed deep well water pump and constructed masonry block pumphouse.

  • Implemented a landscaping and lawn service initiative that results in regular grass cutting

  • Installed plumbing to support the kitchen, two toilets and outside irrigation system

  • Removed wall between two rooms on the north side of the building to establish a place for large groups of people to meet.

  • Made major repairs to the rear porch and added wooden deck with seating.

  • The local community leadership implemented a comprehensive landscaping plan for the GHW center that includes memorial donated pencil trees, a rose garden bed with miscellaneous other landscaping and installation of a flagpole flying the American flag and the North Carolina State Flag.  

  • Placed signs on the property to let the public know that the GHW Center is established and operating.

  • Issued press releases regarding the GHW Center and three news articles were published in local news.

  • Pictures of work done since 2015 when the GHW Center was established can be seen on website: and website designed specifically to publish information on the GHW Center and community involvement.

  • The local community watch organization is providing security watch and other services.

Work Remaining on GHW Center and Costs

Essential work to facilitate full-service operations:

  1. Kitchen: Complete installation of backsplash and electrical work: $2,500

  2. Meals on Wheels Program: Kitchen modifications and storage room repairs to make usable as a location for a Meals on Wheels program to support the local community: $3,800 

  3. Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) System: $16,000

  4. Electrical System: Install permanent electrical service for the GHW Center first and second levels including WiFi systems: $8,800

  5. Restore front porch: $4,800

  6. Install Handicap ramp for rear porch: $3,500


  Total Cost: $39,400

Upgrades desired to facilitate enhanced operations:

  1. Light Fixtures: Upgrade light fixtures as needed: $2,500

  2. Interior Doors: Purchase and install new doors as needed for the GHW Center! $2,800

  3. Security System: Install security monitoring system for GHW Center: $3,500

  4. Windows: Install new windows for the GHW Center as needed: $4,560

  5. Second Floor: Clean out second floor and install storage and display equipment for community archives and exhibits: $6,500

  6. Furniture and Equipment: Purchase various furniture and equipment to bring the GHW Center into full service for the community: $5,000

  7. Replace building metal roof: $12,000

  Total Cost: $36,860

The next steps for the project during CY 2020, 2021 and 2022 include fundraising to accomplish the following to make the GHW Center most favorable to operating for success:

Complete installation of electrical wiring for the building: $8,800

Install HVAC: $16,000

Kitchen installation of backsplash and electrical work: $2,500

Meals on Wheels program modifications: $3,800

Put second coat of paint on all interior walls and ceilings: $2,500

Repair front porch as necessary and install handicap rails at estimated cost of $4,800

Install ramp for handicap access: $3,500

Replace building metal roof: $12,000

How you can help:

To complete all the essential construction and amenities would be The raising of funds to complete work on the project and support operations is a constant and ongoing matter.  Regular donors and others support the project with donations each year.  Various fundraising activities are sponsored by the BESDF, Inc. Fundraising Committee and various community groups are assisting with Fundraising.  The GHW website is constantly updated to report progress on the project.


As mentioned herein before, BESDF, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit group established for educational, literary, and charitable purposes, among other functions, is leading the project.  The tax ID number is 56-2068902. Tax-deductible contributions to bring the project to fruition are welcome and should be provided to BESDF, Inc. as follows:



Attn: GHW Center

7 Jenee Lane, Durham, NC 27703-2563


For questions on the project: Contact Vincent M. Spaulding, R.A. at 202-441-3589 or via email at


Thank you for your support and contributions!

News and Updates

Volunteers at the GHW Center Work Day, October 26, 2019, sponsored by the “Community Watch Organization” for the St. James, Farmers Union, and Welches Creek Communities.  Featured in several of the pictures is the Whiteville High School Drama Theatrical Class grades 9-12 and their teacher. The group won a prestigious award from the American High School Theatre Festival to travel to Scotland and England. The “Community Watch” is helping these students raise funds for their trip.  Donations to help the students cover the cost for the trip can be made as follows:


Mailing a Check to:

WHS Drama Club

413 N Lee Street

Whiteville, NC 28472


Or Online at:

Trip ID: 179795


The POC for Questions: Ms Julia Heckathorn

Current Activities at the GHW Center

September 2020 Update

August 2020 Update

The Memorial Garden

Community Turkey Shoot - Dec 7, 2019

Links and Resources

Contact Us

All Rights Reserved © 2019 BESDF, Inc |  Design by LightSmith Productions

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