2019 Martin Luther King Celebration honors Harold White Jr., welcomes speaker James White

November 20, 2018

MLK-Celebration-PosterFor his lifetime of leadership and community involvement, Jackson College recognizes Harold White Jr. with the 2019 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Medal of Service Award. The award will be presented at the annual King Celebration Dinner in January.

“Harold White is a great leader in our community. He is very passionate about civil rights, just like Dr. King was,” said Lee Hampton, chief diversity officer at Jackson College. “He’s a voice to the voiceless; he cares about the least among us. He works closely with the police department, educational institutions and elected officials to ensure that all citizens are treated fairly and humanely.”

White spent his 30-plus year career with the Michigan Department of Corrections, starting as a corrections officer and then as a warden. “I enjoyed seeing guys change their attitudes. Understanding that they are humans and that even though they are being punished, we go in, talk to the guys, and often, we see them change. Even though they are being punished, they are still human.”

Having a voice in what goes on his community is also important – White does not believe in just sitting on the sidelines. “I love my community. I was born and raised in Jackson and want to see what is best for everyone.” His father, Harold White Sr., was a well-known civil rights leader in the 1960s and ‘70s in Jackson. “I came up just after the Jim Crow laws, but I talked to my dad and heard his stories. That’s why I’m very active and very adamant about having civil rights for all.”

White helped form a group called People for Peace in Jackson. He’s active in a statewide collaborative called Michigan Initiative to End Mass Incarceration and also a collaborative called a Nation Outside, which helps and advocates for the incarcerated after they are released back into society. He has served on the county’s Foster Care Review Board for 15 years, serves as president of the South Central Credit Union Board and is active in several committees for the Jackson Public Schools board. A few of his past activities include Family Services and Children’s Aid board, Salvation Army board, Jackson Public Schools board, and mentor with Big Brothers/Big Sisters. He and his wife, Louise, will celebrate their 48th anniversary in February. They have three sons and 11 grandchildren.

His son, H. James White, an attorney, will be the keynote speaker for the 2019 King Celebration, speaking on “Keeping the Dream Alive.” “Jamie” White is a 1989 graduate of Jackson High School who went on to attend Michigan State University, earning his bachelor’s degree in 1994 and his Juris Doctorate from the MSU College of Law in 2000. He also served honorably in the United States Army Reserves from 1989-1997. In 2001, he founded White Law PLLC. For the past 17 years, his firm has grown and handled thousands of cases in numerous areas of law. White is currently acting as co-lead counsel for hundreds of victims of the former Olympic Dr. Lawrence Nassar in the highly publicized litigation.

The evening will begin at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19 in the Robert Snyder Dining Commons, Potter Center. Tickets are $25, $20 for senior citizens and students. To purchase tickets, please call 517.796.8600.