White, Simeon Meadows

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NAME: Simeon Meadows White


[of her sons, my uncle Simeon Meadows White would, in his teenage years, become the leading organizer of the Civil Rights Movement in Kinston, North Carolina. He always said he was just “enraged at the injustice of it all” and that he “felt the urgent need to act.” As he engaged in his organizing, a popular local radio show host would rail on his show about my uncle’s efforts, spewing filth about a “local communist nigra boy” stirring up trouble. The talk show host would go on to be the five-term United States Senator from North Carolina, Jesse Helms. My grandmother would allow the mostly teenaged organizers to meet in her home. While many in her generation were intimidated, she said she was tired of waiting for a change – something needed to be done. The teenagers would protest the laws of segregation at local stores, protest the pool that would not allow my father, the all-state swimmer, to enter, protest the movie theater that relegated the Black patrons to the balcony seats. My grandmother’s brothers, my great-uncles, would refuse to go downtown to the protests, because as they said, “If I see someone dragging one of my nephews or nieces down the street, I’m gonna see red, and I’m gonna shoot somebody.” My grandmother walked the line though, maintaining nonviolence in keeping with the mode of the Movement. But one day, when a teenage boy ran up on the line, and cleared his throat and drew up some phlegm to spit on her as she protested the Jim Crow laws, she stepped back and met his eyes: “Careful sucka, we ain’t all nonviolent.” He walked away.]

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Date of Birth: 6/30/1944

Date of Death (delete if non-applicable): 3/11/1994

Age at Death (delete if non-applicable): 49


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His friends include: (type your name here, or names of others) Walter Lear, Michael Seltzer, Harry Kelly, Rusel Silkey, Lewis Rathbone, Tommi Avicolli-Mecca, Harry Langhorne.

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