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Barbara Davis White

Barbara Davis White

Congressional Candidate and Teacher

Born: Minneapolis, MN, United States
Heritage: African American

Find your own advice in life. Get out of the box and learn new things on your own. Love living every day. Find the strength inside, no matter what you go through, to keep looking forward. Every thread in life helps make a beautiful picture. Humble ourselves, listen, and be aware of our surroundings. The world is a community and they are waiting for us.

Barbara Davis White

Congressional Candidate and Teacher

My name is Barbara Davis White. I was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in June of 1954. My mother’s family came to America during World War II. She was Jewish. There were no jobs and no money. They had to start from scratch. My grandparents wanted a life that was better. My father’s family was from the United States, descendants of slaves. What makes you strong growing up is knowing who you are and where you came from.

Dad was in the Army and had traveled to Europe. He fell in love with European people. He fought valiantly in the war and was injured. The United States put him on disability and helped him the rest of his life. When he traveled to Minnesota he met Rose, my mother. They fell in love and had five kids! They struggled to make sure we had everything we needed. My mother particularly struggled to comb our hair that was different than hers. I noticed that those little things make you strong so you can face tomorrow.

The one thing they talked about was having an education. They would check on our grades and talk to our teachers. They wanted to see us excell. I was the only African American child in my classroom. I was made conscious that I was different. We grew up wanting to learn, I read seven books a week. I loved to read! It didn’t matter what color you were in a book.

I couldn’t get enough of reading and I graduated early. At that time you had to be 18 to go to college. Since I was 16, when Honeywell offered to make me an apprentice I agreed and ended up in the space program. I worked with Scientists.

When my family had saved money to buy a house, my mom would pick a house and then my dad would go with us kids to buy it, but when they saw him they would say no. The law at that time stated that if you didn’t want to sell to someone because of their skin color you didn’t have to. So we ended up buying a home near Loring Park in Minneapolis.

When I was 18, I wanted to get married. That was the time in my life I had to grow up. Then I had Amaris’ dad, Tony. I was young and wanted to finish school, but I had a baby. At that time I was going to the University of Minnesota. It was painful for Tony and me when his father left. My mother helped take care of Tony. I ended up graduating from school with a Science degree in medicine. I also thought I wanted to learn law.

My Dad died in 1969. But when someone has lived a good life, they fill others with wonderful memories. I can still hear his words come to me.

One day I was walking by a funeral home and was so interested that I changed my major and went back to school. I earned a degree in Mortuary Science.

After my own mother’s death I started volunteering to counsel others who also had loss. We held meetings every Sunday. Our little church grew! I met people from all over; near and far. Meeting people from different counties is an opportunity to learn. One day Kenny White came to our church. Tony was grown up by then. He asked me to marry him.

Meanwhile, I went back to school to be a trained teacher. Then I went back to learn to teach the Bible. You have to have a Masters from a Seminary. I learned Greek and Hebrew. A woman from my church suggested that I teach internationally. So I traveled to Uganda, the Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Kenya. I’ve been to Israel six times to teach families about the Bible. You start to find out that all people are beautiful.

When you decide to do something new, you learn something. I learned about politics and how our country is structured. Three groups of people help make all the laws. I ran for US Congress this last year. Running for any government office is a great honor. I’m a servant and I wanted to serve the people.

Another joy is my grandchildren. My son married a woman from Chile and lived there for a year. If I hadn’t struggled then, I wouldn’t have the family I do now. We certainly have fun even when we don’t know what life will serve us.


It’s The Story That I’m Walking With

Honoring Barbara Davis White

The Story That I’m Walking With
(Honoring Barbara Davis White)

Know who you are and where you come from
There’s no power greater than the power of love
I want to tell you about the strength inside

My mother she was white.
My mother was a Jew.
My family came from Europe
in World War II.
My father was black. Descendants of slaves.
All of my ancestors
had to break out of chains.
It’s the story that I’m walking with. (2x)

My Dad was in the Army,
met a lady named Rose.
My father’s name was Claude,
together built a home.
They had five children, one of them is ME!
They gave us food and clothing,
and everything we need.
It’s the story that I’m walking with. (2x)

My father got hurt fighting over seas
So my father was put on disability
My mother’s hair was straight
for me she took care
So she had to learn to comb my fuzzy hair
It’s the story that I’m walking with (2x)

Went looking for a home,
when mom found a house
The took one look at Dad
and told us to get out
After fighting in the war
how could they tell him NO!
My mother and my father
had nowhere to go.
It’s the story that I’m walking with (2x)

When I was 16 they let me graduate
But when it came to college
they said I had to wait
So I got a job, not at Taco Bell
But for the space program at Honeywell
It’s the story that I’m walking with (2x)

Then I got married way before my time
It was painful
when my husband said goodbye
With a baby boy by the name of Tony
A single mother at the University
It’s the story that I’m walking with (2x)

From the time I was young I loved to read
From Mortuary Science to the Seminary
Never judge a person
by the color of their skin
The time to love is now,
it’ll never come again.
It’s the story that I’m walking with (2x)

If you treat people good,
they will treat you well.
Be it Jordan, Uganda, Congo, or Israel.
I’ve traveled the world
as a teacher, volunteer
One of my favorite parts of life
is being right here.
It’s the story that I’m walking with (2x)

Words & music by Larry Long with Mrs. Dee Locke’s 4th grade class of North Park Elementary School
Columbia Heights, Minnesota

© Larry Long 2008 / BMI