Bladen Commissioners Visit
The Commissioners of Bladen County, including Mark Gillespie, Arthur Bullock and Michael Cogdell, visited the George Henry White Memorial Health and Education Center on Monday, Nov. 14. They were welcomed by Wanda Pridgen, community volunteer; Wanda Campbell Clay, leadership team; Ocie Jones, superintendent; Hilda Coleman, Brenda Kelly, part-time staff; and Carol Caldwell, programming director . A tour of the facility took place, as well as presentations about the history of George Henry White and the transformation of a vacant farmhouse into a vibrant community center. Discussions took place about the ongoing programming of the center: the computer classes, the food programs, the health events, the historical programs.
The commissioners were intrigued by the story of George Henry White, a native of Bladen/Columbus who rose in state and national politics until the 1900 referendum taking the vote from many black voters, after which he segued to helping people gain financial power and education, as a path to full freedom. They were impressed as well by the programs, activity and capacity of the center. The volunteers explained some of the upcoming events that are planned, and explained some of the needs. The meeting became a discussion of how the county could offer support for some of the work being conducted through the GHW Center.
"Our purpose was to inform the Bladen County leadership about both the history of Mr. White and the resource the center offers to the entire local area. We hope this will be the beginning of a fruitful partnership that will benefit the entire community," said Ocie Jones.