Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

White, Walter (1893–1955)

White was the head of the NAACP for nearly twenty-five years from 1931 to 1955. Born in Atlanta, he graduated from Atlanta University in 1916. When the Atlanta Board of Education decided to stop 7th grade for black students to fund a new high school for white students, he organized a protest, starting his long career in civil rights advocacy. He founded the Atlanta NAACP branch and started working nationally in 1918. As executive secretary of the NAACP from 1931 to 1955, he started the Legal Defense Fund, which made Brown v. Board of Education possible, convinced FDR to start the Fair Employment Practices Commission and end defense hiring discrimination, got Truman to desegregate the armed forces, and fought for antilynching legislation.