Walter White (1893-1955)

Image Courtesy of the New Georgia Encyclopedia

  • Executive secretary of the NAACP from 1931-1955
  • Advocate of Indian Independence
  • Member of U.S. delegation to UN Conference in San Francisco, 1945

Online Reference Source:

Walter White, American National Biography


Janken, Kenneth Robert. White: The Biography of Walter White, Mr. NAACP. New York: The New Press, 2003.

  • “Before World War II the NAACP had exhibited only limited interest in the international dimensions of race.” (278)

Primary Sources

  • Papers located in the James Welldon Johnson Collection at Yale University
  • A Rising Wind. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Dorian and Company, Inc., 1945

White’s account of his information-gathering trip on the conditions of African-American soldiers in England, North Africa, the Middle East and Italy from January to March 1944.

  • At a London dinner party, White notes that none of the dinner guests made a connection between, “the American attitude toward Negroes whose skins were black or brown and the British attitude towards Indians whose skins were brown” (31).
  • “World War II has given to the Negro a sense of kinship with other colored–and also oppressed–peoples of the world” (144)
  • “If already planned race riots and lynchings of returning Negro soldiers “to teach them their place” are consummated, if Negro war workers are first fired, if India remains enslaved… World War III will be in the making before the last gun is fired in World War II” (154).
  • “Can the United States, Britain, and other ‘white’ nations any longer afford, in enlightened self-interest, racial superiority?” (154)
  • “The United States, Great Britain, France, and other Allied nations must choose without delay one of two courses–to revolutionize their racial concepts and practices, to abolish imperialism and grant full equality to all of its people, or else prepare for World War III” (154)
  • A Man Called White, The Autobiography of Walter White. New York: Viking Press, 1948.
  • Papers of the NAACP, Library of Congress

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