By DEVIN LORING, Staff Writer | Press of Atlantic City
For seven months, Cheryl Spaulding worked with Middle Township officials to try to get the founder of Whitesboro, Congressman George Henry White, the recognition that he deserves.
In a long-awaited ceremony Dec. 18, Spaulding, the program administrator for the Concerned Citizens of Whitesboro Inc., finally saw the hard work of the Concerned Citizens and Middle Township Mayor Daniel Lockwood come to fruition.
The Concerned Citizens of Whitesboro saw a marker unveiled that honors White.
"We are so honored to have so many people here," Spaulding said. "We envision there will be many more dedications to George Henry White."
At the ceremony at the intersection of Route 9 and Main Street in Whitesboro, on the day that George Henry White was born in 1852;, historian Luke Alexander spoke about White's legacy.
According to Alexander, White served in the 55th Congress of the United States, but was the last African-American congressman from the Reconstruction Era after the enactment of the Jim Crow laws.
White later established Whitesboro in 1901 as a model community where African-Americans could own land, build businesses and become independent farmers.
"(White) started looking for a way to turn despair into hope, and that's where Whitesboro comes in," Alexander said. "He developed this community for people to advance and to take the barriers off."
The marker - which is located at the site the ceremony took place - will be used as a template for other historic markers for towns in Middle Township.
"We have a lot of history here," Lockwood said. "Middle Township is made up of a whole bunch of communities with their own identities. None are so strong as Whitesboro."
The marker, which was designed in August, had to be redesigned because Lockwood foresaw a marker that didn't "stand alone." The Middle Township logo was added to the marker to make it a cohesive template for other towns.
"Cheryl doesn't just run with it," Lockwood said. "She takes a lot of people with her."
The Concerned Citizens will continue to recognize White in other ways. Alexander, who works with the BESDA Foundation, is working to get White recognized in the Smithsonian.
"There's a lot more going on here under the surface in Whitesboro," Alexander said. "There is pride."
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