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George Henry White Pioneer Award 2014

The George Henry White Pioneer Award was established by the Benjamin and Edith Spaulding Descendants Foundation to honor the legacy of, the late Congressman George Henry White (1852 -1918), who was a major civil rights leader during his time, and was the lone African American serving in the U.S. Congress from 1897 to 1901.

The award honors qualities of Servant Leadership, Social Entrepreneurship, Visionary Action, and Family Cohesiveness.

The BESD Foundation, Inc. BOD's, voted unanimously, without opposition, to give the 2014 GHW award to Dr. Benjamin Justesen for his visionary action, and diligent and ongoing efforts to promote public knowledge of the life and enduring legacy of GHW. Dr Justesen serves as a spokesperson on the life and legacy of GHW at public events sponsored by the BESD foundation and other organizations, and is a present day authority on GHW. He also worked with the Ms. Kate Tsubata and the Lightsmith Productions Company as a writer and editor in the production of the documentary movie on the life of GHW entitled,”George Henry White- American Phoenix”. Dr. Justesen has authored two books on the life of GHW, one entitled: “An Even Chance in the Race of Life” and the other book is entitled: “In His Own Words”, which is a compilation of Writings, Speeches, and Letters done by GHW.

The GHW Award for 2014 was presented by Mr. Vincent Spaulding, BESD Foundation, President Emeritus & COO, to Dr. Justesen on August 2, 2014 during a banquet in Asheville, NC.

About the Award

George Henry White, a successful attorney, was elected to U.S. Congress in 1897 and served two terms there until the Jim Crow laws made certain no African American could be elected for three more decades. Despite such injustices, the congressman continued to serve the people; he founded businesses and established the town of Whitesboro, New Jersey in the early 20th Century as a model community where people could attain personal and professional achievement, regardless of race. Many descendants of Benjamin and Edith migrated to this town, building businesses and advancing education and, to this day, family members carry on this proud legacy of self-reliance in Whitesboro.

This award honors outstanding persons who demonstrate qualities of servant leadership, social entrepreneurship, visionary action, and family cohesiveness.

The award is presented at the bi-annual national reunions of the Benjamin and Edith Spaulding Descendants Association.

Highlighting excellence in public service is intended to encourage youth to emulate these standards in their own lives.


To be considered for this award, candidates must have demonstrated the following:

Servant Leadership involves inspiring others by one’s deeds, especially through service to society.

Social Entrepreneurship means creating businesses and economic structures that build wealth, develop skills, foster education, increase opportunity and achievement for all those touched by the enterprise.

Visionary Action is the ability to both envision positive ideas and to practically implement them.

Family Cohesiveness. Not only does this quality honor family relationships, but extends that awareness into the larger society. The family model protects and nurtures individual growth, while developing connectedness and caring for others.

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