Friday, July 17, 2020

Effort underway to name N.J. post office after Black congressman who helped displaced Black residents

The man who founded a South Jersey town as a haven for Black families to escape oppression during the Jim Crow south could soon have his name on its new post office.

Whitesboro, a section of Middle Township, is named for George H. White. The new post office on Route 9 South and Main Street in town, would named the George Henry White Post Office Building under a pending congressional bill.

White, who died in 1918, was a congressman from North Carolina from 1897 to 1901, who later moved to Philadelphia. He sought to find a safe location for Black constituents from the Wilmington, North Carolina area after more than 100 African Americans were killed In 1898 by white supremacists.

Their homes and businesses were also destroyed, having been burned to the ground.

Wanting to create a place where Black families could create their own lives by being independent farmers, owning their own land and businesses, and have a place to be educated, he co-founded the town of Whitesboro.

According to Middle Township, after establishing Whitesboro, White’s family built the Odessa Inn, and, in 1908, White finished building the first school in the town.

A group comprised of the Middle Township Committee, Concerned Citizens of Whitesboro, the New Jersey NAACP and the Cape May County NAACP, have joined together to make sure that White is recognized by all who visit the post office.

The effort has been around for a long time but received a boost after the Middle Township Committee passed a resolution June 2019 asking Congress to name the planned, new post office for him. The building opens Saturday.

The NAACP chapters and the Concerned Citizens of Whitesboro also passed resolutions or write letters in support.

On June 15, New Jersey Congressman Jeff Van Drew, R-2nd Dist., introduced bill H.R. 7230 to name the post office after White. The bill is headed to the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

“We appreciate these partnerships and community cooperation in this important effort,” Middle Township Mayor Tim Donohue said.

Read the full article here: [NJ.COM]

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