Walter White, third from right, and others gather in support of Isaac Woodard, third from left, a veteran who was attacked and blinded by police, 1946. (The leading assailant was acquitted by an all-white jury.)

The Original Walter White

BY ADRIAN BRUNE

White in 1930, then the executive secretary of the N.A.A.C.P.

Civil Rights’ Scarlet Pimpernel?

One could say that Walter F. White, the man, social crusader, and 1940s cultural icon, was birthed in blood, came of age in blood, and spent his life in blood. He was the grandson of former slaves, and his light skin descended through his mother’s grandmother, a slave who gave birth to six children allegedly fathered by her owner, William Henry Harrison, the ninth president of the U.S.

White, far right, with his graduating class from Atlanta University, circa 1916. He would move to New York to work for the fledgling N.A.A.C.P. two years later.
White with his first wife, Gladys, and their two children in their Harlem apartment, sometimes called “the White House of Negro Harlem.”
From left, President Harry Truman, Eleanor Roosevelt, and White gear up for an address at the Lincoln Memorial, in Washington, D.C.

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