Reverend Charles Lee White, Jr.
Known as a prophetic preacher, strategic thinker, coalition builder, visionary and social activist, White brings a bold and honest perspective to real world issues. This visionary and charismatic leader has dedicated his life to the cause of civil and human rights. God has given him a vision and a passion for helping people meet Jesus. He has preached, lectured and served as keynote speaker at churches, conferences, colleges and universities across the country. He has served in various ministry contexts including campus ministry, urban renewal, rural, cross-racial and multi-ethnic. He has served in churches in the South Carolina, North Georgia, Arkansas and Tennessee Annual Conferences.
A native of the Sea Islands of Charleston, SC he is a lifelong member of the Wesley UMC in Hollywood, SC. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from the University of South Carolina and a Masters of Divinity with a concentration in Christian Education from Gammon Theological Seminary of the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, GA.
For over 30 years, Rev. White worked tirelessly as an advocate for social justice in with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In 1987, he was elected President of the S.C. Youth and College Division. At the invitation of Reverend Dr. Benjamin Hooks, Rev. White joined the national staff of the NAACP in 1991 as Youth Director of the Southeast Region. In 1999, Kweise Mfume invited Rev. White to serve as Director for the Southeast Region. During his 14 years with the NAACP Rev. White rose the ranks to one of the NAACP’s top leadership positions as the National Field Director and Director of Field Operations and Field Organizing. In 2014, at the invitation of the Reverend Al Sharpton, White joined the National Action Network (NAN) staff as National Field Director.
In October of 2019, Bishop Jonathan Holston of the South Annual Conference of United Methodist Church, appointed White as the Senior Pastor of the historic I. DeQuincey Newman United Methodist Church in Columbia, SC. I. DeQuincey Newman Church established in 1984 by the late statesman and NAACP pioneer in South Carolina stands today as a beacon of hope in the North Columbia community. Newman’s history has been rooted in social justice and community empowerment. In concert with Newman’s mission, White’s personal goal is to live out CHURCH beyond the walls with the CHURCH being the center of the community, a place where people are understood, embraced and valued for who they are and where they are as we journey to make disciples.
Rev. White’s civil rights undertakings include; becoming the first African-American member of the University of South Carolina Chaplains Association, and the first African-American member of Clover Rotary Club. He won a precedent setting 1993 verdict against the Buffalo Room in North Augusta, S.C. for refusing to serve him and other NAACP officials because of their race. The suit led the adoption of a strong Public Accommodations Law by the South Carolina Legislature. White and the NAACP a decade later would use the Buffalo Bill to prevail against several businesses in Myrtle Beach, S.C., for discriminatory practices during the annual Labor Day Black Bike Week.
Among his numerous awards include the 2009 recipient of the NAACP’s Medgar Evers Award, the highest honor bestowed on a NAACP National Staff member. He earned recognition by the South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee House of Representatives for his outstanding work in civil rights. He is also a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and a charter member of the Rho Phil Lambda Chapter in Metro-Atlanta. White has served on the Board of Trustees for the Center for African American Male Research, Success and Leadership at the University of West Georgia and Fort Valley State University, People For the American Way African American Ministers Leadership Council and the national American Red Cross Minority Advisory Committee.
He has been most recognized for his ability to influence and motivate young African American males and is the Founder and CEO of Brothers United for Change, a ministry dedicated to “Saving Black Boys: One at a Time” particularly situated in rural and isolated communities.
The Rockwood Leadership Institute selected White as one of 24 progressive executive management leaders for the 2013-14 Leaders from the Inside Out Fellowship Program designed to strengthen senior leadership in the non-profit section.
White is the principal in the WhiteGroup, Inc., a public relations consulting firm dedicated to social justice work.
He was formerly married to the late Lady Adrienne Thompson-White, and is the proud parents of three fine sons, Dwayne, and Alexander, both Veterans of the War in Iraq, and young DJ, a sophomore at A.C. Flora High School. He has four lovely grandchildren, Davion, Chloe, Christina and Kaylan.
He has been blessed and is a true believer that the gifts of God's precious Holy Spirit are the empowering force for the people of the Village! Rev. White models his life after the African American spiritual: “If I Can Help Somebody As I Pass Along, then My Living Shall Not Be In Vain.”