United States Representative George Henry White (1852-1918) was born 18 December 1852 in Bladen County, North Carolina and was the founder of Whitesboro, New Jersey.
Whitesboro founder honored by marker that is template for other Middle sites
Posted: Tuesday, December 24, 2013 12:01 am
By DEVIN LORING, Staff Writer (pressofAtlanticCity)
For seven months, Cheryl Spaulding worked with Middle Township officials to try to get the founder of Whitesboro, Congressman George Henry White, the recognition that he deserves.
In a long-awaited ceremony Dec. 18, Spaulding, the program administrator for the Concerned Citizens of Whitesboro Inc., finally saw the hard work of the Concerned Citizens and Middle Township Mayor Daniel Lockwood come to fruition.
The Concerned Citizens of Whitesboro saw a marker unveiled that honors White.
"We are so honored to have so many people here," Spaulding said. "We envision there will be many more dedications to George Henry White."
At the ceremony at the intersection of Route 9 and Main Street in Whitesboro, on the day that George Henry White was born in 1852;, historian Luke Alexander spoke about White's legacy.
According to Alexander, White served in the 55th Congress of the United States, but was the last African-American congressman from the Reconstruction Era after the enactment of the Jim Crow laws.
White later established Whitesboro in 1901 as a model community where African-Americans could own land, build businesses and become independent farmers.
"(White) started looking for a way to turn despair into hope, and that's where Whitesboro comes in," Alexander said. "He developed this community for people to advance and to take the barriers off."
The marker - which is located at the site the ceremony took place - will be used as a template for other historic markers for towns in Middle Township.
"We have a lot of history here," Lockwood said. "Middle Township is made up of a whole bunch of communities with their own identities. None are so strong as Whitesboro."
The marker, which was designed in August, had to be redesigned because Lockwood foresaw a marker that didn't "stand alone." The Middle Township logo was added to the marker to make it a cohesive template for other towns.
"Cheryl doesn't just run with it," Lockwood said. "She takes a lot of people with her."
The Concerned Citizens will continue to recognize White in other ways. Alexander, who works with the BESDA Foundation, is working to get White recognized in the Smithsonian.
"There's a lot more going on here under the surface in Whitesboro," Alexander said. "There is pride."
Contact Devin Loring:
Bernard Blanks, president of the Conercerned Citizens of Whitesboro, Mayor Dan Lockwood, and Cheryl Spaulding, Program administrator of the Concerned Citizens gathered Dec. 18 around the newly erected marker honoring Whitesboro founder Congressman George Henry White.ernard Blanks, president of the Conercerned Citizens of Whitesboro, Mayor Dan Lockwood, and Cheryl Spaulding, Program administrator of the Concerned Citizens gathered Dec. 18 around the newly erected marker honoring Whitesboro founder Congressman George Henry White.
The Concerned Citizens of Whitesboro gathered Dec. 18 around the newly erected marker honoring Whitesboro's founder, Congressman George Henry White.
Hatcher sworn in as new Columbus County Sheriff
WHITEVILLE, NC (WWAY) -- There's a new sheriff in town in Columbus County.
Community members and law enforcement packed the Columbus County Courthouse this morning as Lewis Hatcher, the county's first black sheriff, was sworn in.
Hatcher replaces Chris Batten, who stepped down to take a new job.
Hatcher, who was the county's chief deputy, says he never expected this position, but is honored to accept it.
"It's my job to preserve peace, see that all the citizens of this county and their property are protected, and that's what I'm dedicated to do," Sheriff Hatcher said.
Hatcher picks up where Batten left off after he served as sheriff for more than 11 years.
Hatcher says he will be on the ballot to run for sheriff later this year when his appointed term is up.
George Henry White Exhibit and Film Kick-Off Black History Month
Arts and Entertainment | Tue, 02/04/2014 - 4:07 pm | Updated 1 day 1 hour ago | Read 312 | Commented 0 | Emailed 1
By Helen McCaffrey
COURT HOUSE – George Henry White was the last black Republican Representative in Congress elected after the Civil War and his term ended in 1901. He was the Representative from North Carolina’s 55th Congressional District. So why is he important to Cape May County?
On Feb. 1, Pary Tell and Lindsay Rowland, Culture and Heritage Representatives, welcomed visitors to the Beesley House on Route 9 to see an exhibit and hear a presentation regarding White’s life and accomplishments.
White was born in North Carolina in 1852. He was born free. His family had never been slaves. One of his grandmothers was Irish and another was Waccamaw-Siouan Indian. His family worked hard making turpentine from pine trees. They knew the necessity of hard work and the value of education, and White studied hard when his day’s work in the fields and woods was done.
White attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. After that he “read for the law” (this is how people used to become lawyers; law school was not required). Before being admitted to the Bar he worked as a teacher and a principal. Under the sponsorship of North Carolina attorney William J. Clark he was the only black applicant for the North Carolina Bar in 1879.
White was also a successful businessman. As the saying goes “Lucky in business unlucky in love” proved true for White’s first two marriages. Both of his wives died. But then he found lasting love with Cora Cherry.
In 1885, White was elected to the North Carolina state senate. In 1898, White ran for Congress on a national ticket that featured popular Republican William McKinley, who was elected. But catastrophe struck White’s Congressional district when, in that same year, the only coup d’état to ever occur in the U.S. happened in the city of Wilmington. That year, the voters of Wilmington elected a Republican mayor and a Republican city council. It was also bi-racial. The Democrat party, which was an exclusively white party, was unhappy with the election. Agitated by supremacist newspaper editor Josephus Daniels, they formed an armed force and marched through the streets of the city harassing and intimidating black residents. They surrounded the city government buildings and violently forced the Republican elected officials to flee for their lives. The Democrats then put their own people into office.
White, a Congressman, begged President McKinley to send federal troops to restore order. But the best McKinley did was urge Governor Russell to call out the militia. Finally Russell did, but they not only attacked the Ku Klux Klan and the Red Shirts, both paramilitary arms of the Democrat Party, they attacked the beleaguered black population as well. Hundreds of blacks and whites were wounded and 100 African Americans were killed. In addition, 2,100 black residents left the city permanently, conceding power to the Democrats.
White spoke out strongly but he had seen the writing on the wall. North Carolina was the last state to introduce segregation but White knew he could no longer live there. In 1900, the Democrats won a landslide. White’s congressional career ended in 1901.
His farewell speech on the floor of the House was known as the Phoenix speech, for the mythical bird that rises from its own ashes. "This is perhaps the Negroes' temporary farewell to the American Congress,” White said. “But let me say, Phoenix-like he will rise up some day and come again. These parting words are in behalf of an outraged, heart-broken bruised and bleeding, but God-fearing people, faithful, industrious, loyal, rising people – full of potential force."
White's forecast was correct and it was not until 1928 that another African American, Oscar De Priest of Illinois, was elected to Congress.
White preached the Gospel of self-sufficiency and economic power a.k.a. free enterprise. He saw it as a way to raise the condition of the disenfranchised Freemen.
Sheryl Davis Spaulding, who married into the historic family, has taken an active part in preserving and publicizing White’s legacy. A short film to which she contributed, “George Henry White, An American Phoenix,” was shown at the event. It will be shown again on Feb. 12 and Feb. 28 at 7 p.m.
A principal, politician, proprietor and prophet, White moved to Philadelphia in 1905. There, he successfully practiced law and established the People's Saving Bank at 1508 Lombard Street. This bank was able to help African Americans purchase homes and start businesses. But White’s enduring legacy was to establish Whitesboro, a community for migrating African Americans from the Deep South.
Whitesboro was to be a refuge and economic chance for the victims of Jim Crow legislation flooding the Deep South. Luke Alexander told the assembled group at the Beesley House that although White had four children he has no direct descendants. But he does have hundreds of collateral ones, including Alexander and many of the well-known families of Cape May County. They include the Spauldings the Vassers, the Grahams, the Mitchells, the Moores, the Blanks, the Vicks, the Cherrys and the Vances.
“We are his descendants and must champion his memory,” said Alexander.
George Henry White died in 1918 in Philadelphia.
The Exhibition is sponsored by the Concerned Citizens of Whitesboro and the Cape May County Division of Culture and Heritage. It will be open until Feb. 28, Thursdays through Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. There is no charge for admission.
To contact Helen McCaffrey, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
HON. VERA WEBB-HALL
INTERVIEW DATE: 6/2/2004
Vera P. Hall was born on February 17, 1937 in Bolton, North Carolina. Her mother was a homemaker and her father was a barber. As a child, Hall enjoyed reading and sewing, even creating her own patterns. She earned a diploma from Armour High School in Armour, North Carolina in 1955. While in school, she was a member of the Hobby and Glee clubs and worked as a school bus driver.
Upon graduation, Hall married her husband, Lawrence, while attending design school in Raleigh, North Carolina. While married with a young child she attended Coppin College and earned her B.S. degree in 1962. She worked as an educator in the Baltimore City public school system from 1962-1975. In 1963, Hall helped to integrate city schools when she was the first African American teacher assigned to an all white school in the city’s “Little Italy” community. During that time she became involved in Maryland state politics, and in 1972 she was appointed to the state central committee by former Maryland Governor, Marvin Mandell.
From 1975 until 1979, Hall worked as a reading specialist for the Maryland State Department of Education. In 1979, she was promoted to assistant superintendent of state schools; she held that post until 1983. Hall was successful in merging education and politics when she accepted a job as legislative liaison at Morgan State University from 1983-1992. While working at Morgan she successfully ran for a seat on the Baltimore City Council. Hall represented the city’s fifth district from 1987-1995. While serving on the council, she also held the position of vice chair of the Maryland Democratic Party from 1989-1992.
Hall made history in 1992 when she was elected as the first African American woman chair of a state democratic party, a position she won by just one vote. Three years later she unsuccessfully ran for Baltimore City Council President and lost by less than 5000 votes.
Hall is an avid quilter and seamstress. She and her husband have two adult children and live in Baltimore, Maryland.
You’d never try to play doctor and diagnose yourself when you’re feeling ill. So why wouldn’t you take the same approach and lean on experts when handling your hard-earned money?
Black women pride ourselves on being resourceful. When we have a question about our health, we’ll talk to our doctor. If our car is making a strange sound, we’ll haul it to the mechanic. Yet, when it comes to our finances, we often try to figure out all the answers on our own. “We believe that we are superwomen and that we should be able to do everything,” says Patricia Stallworth, personal finance expert and author of Minding Your Money: Personal, Money Management and Investment Strategies (BookPartners).
However, our financial choices aren’t always in our best interest. In 2013, the median net worth among Black households was $11,000 compared with $141,900 for Whites, according to a Pew Research Center survey. Black Americans are also underrepresented in the stock market, with 67 percent of African-Americans investing compared with 86 percent of Whites, according to Ariel Investments’ 2015 Black Investor Survey.
A financial adviser can help us maximize our dollars so they start to work for us. But, according to Fidelity Investments, only 47 percent of women are comfortable speaking with a financial professional about their funds compared with 77 percent who are comfortable talking to a medical professional about their health. The wisest people don’t know everything, but they do know where to look for answers. HERE ARE SIX MISTAKES YOU MAY BE MAKING WITH YOUR MONEY AND HOW A FINANCIAL ADVISER CAN SHOW YOU A BETTER WAY.
MISTAKE NUMBER 1
Amassing cash without a plan. As we move up in our careers, it’s natural for us to focus on earning more money. But earning is just the first part of that equation, says Stallworth. The second part is “hav- ing a plan for what you want your money to do.” Without a strategy, we may have a closet full of shoes and an empty bank account, or let our money languish in a savings account when it could be earning 7 percent in the stock market.
Whether your goal is retiring, adopting a child or traveling interna- tionally once a year, an expert can assess the current picture and tell you what you need to do to bring your dream to fruition. The advice can range from adjusting your budget to investing dispos- able income in a particular fund so you can benefit from compound interest. “We’ve seen examples of janitors who have left millions of dollars to schools,” Stallworth says. “It’s not necessarily how much you make, it’s what you do with what you make that really determines the outcome.”
MISTAKE NUMBER 2
Focusing on finances too late. Time is your greatest ally when you want to grow your money. JP Morgan Asset Management’s 2014 Guide to Retirement gives an example of a person who invested $5,000 per year from age 25 to 65 ending up with $1,142,811 compared with a person who invested $5,000 per year from 35 to 65 finishing with only $540,741. That’s why Diane Brown, 52, of Bowie, Maryland, first hired a financial adviser when she was 25. “I felt the earlier I started, it would maximize my dollars on the back end,” she says.
While some women believe they don’t have enough money to warrant consulting a professional, “even if you can’t implement everything in your plan, at least you’ll know what you need to do. So when you get those extra dollars, you can go back and say, ‘Now I can do that,’ ” Stallworth says.
MISTAKE NUMBER 3
Being unprepared for life’s big transitions. We can’t avoid the seismic shifts in our lives, whether it’s a happy occurrence like the birth of a child or a challenging one such as the death of a spouse. But a financial adviser can help us anticipate them. If a woman is getting a divorce, an expert can help her avoid leaving valuable assets on the table. If she’s changing jobs, an adviser can help her determine what to do with the 401(k) or stock options from her previous employer. “My goal, in working with my clients, is to try to provide a safety net,” says Zaneilia Harris, president of Harris & Harris Wealth Management Group in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. “I help clients think about things they wouldn’t think about.”
A pro can also help with long-term planning, such as preparing for health care expenses and life insurance needs and securing premature death protection, says Marina Buatti, vice-president of Women Investors at Fidelity Investments.
MISTAKE NUMBER 4
Taking the wrong approach to tackling debt. Many of us believe that if we are saddled with college loans or owe too much on our credit cards, we don’t have money to invest. Even if we are in the red, “we still need a plan, because sometimes we can’t see our way out of it,” says Sheila Jacobs, a certified financial planner with Wells Fargo Advisors. “In the same way that there are steps to investing to get to your goal, there are steps to getting out of that debt.” Also it may not be wise to put off saving and investing entirely until you’re debt-free. A financial adviser can show you how to do it all at once.
MISTAKE NUMBER 5
Losing money on fees. When it comes to choosing the funds to invest in through our 401(k) plans, some of us use the “eenie, meenie, miny, mo” method. But the funds we select can make a huge difference in earnings over time because of the hidden fees, which average investors don’t know how to spot, Stallworth says. Then years down the line, “they get that final statement and say, ‘My gosh! Where’d my money go?’ ”
A financial adviser can help you identify investments that may be costing you more than they’re worth. “There are so many little tricks inside of your 401(k) that most people don’t even realize,” Stallworth adds.
MISTAKE NUMBER 6
Underestimating the value of knowledge. Some of us have a do-it- yourself mind-set, but there are tens of thousands of investment options. How long would it take for you to research all the different stocks, bonds and mutual funds on your own? That’s the value of going “to somebody who does this all day, every day,” says Jacobs. Not only does a financial adviser understand how the markets work but she or he can also help you determine, based on your goal and time frame, what type of investment is most appropriate for you.
Experts also keep up with changing regulations, which can impact the growth of your money. For example, years ago, the maximum amount you could put in an IRA was $2,000. Today it’s $5,500 for both a Traditional and Roth IRA. If you’re 50 and over, you can add another $1,000 to what’s called a catch-up contribution. If you weren’t aware of the change, you could have missed out on putting away an additional $3,500 or $4,500 toward your retirement.
A financial adviser is a partner who’s invested in your success. Says Jacobs, “One of my best days ever at work was telling a single female client, ‘Congratulations. You’re a millionaire.’”
Derek Brunson is an American mixed martial artist who currently fights in the middleweight division for the Ultimate Fighting Championship and is a descendant of William Graham Sr. and Sarah Jacobs-Graham. He is a native of Wilmington, North Carolina and attended John T. Hoggard High School located in Wilmington, NC. Derek was a 3-time Division II All-American wrestler from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
Dr. Blannie E. Bowen
Dr. Blannie Bowen joined the central administration at Penn State as Vice Provost for Academic Affairs in July 2004. Prior to this appointment, he served as the head of the University's Department of Agricultural and Extension Education in the College of Agricultural Sciences from 1998 to 2004 and held the C. Lee Rumberger and Family Chair of Agriculture. Prior to assuming the headship, he was associate dean and senior faculty mentor in the Graduate School. During his tenure as head, many continuous quality improvement initiatives were implemented that made the department more efficient and effective. Major enhancements were made to the undergraduate and graduate programs, the research programs of faculty, the professional development of faculty and staff, and the external support from alumni.
In his current position, Dr. Bowen works closely with the provost in areas including faculty development, leadership training, tenure and promotion, executive searches and reviews, and other issues related to academic personnel and their concerns. He serves as the provost's contact person for the Big 10 Academic Alliance, the academic arm of the Big Ten Conference, and the University Faculty Senate in issues relating to faculty affairs, and is liaison for the provost and the president to the deans and chancellors.
Dr. Bowen received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from North Carolina A&T State University and his Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, all in agricultural education. He has been the editor of two journals and has contributed to the top journals in his profession. Dr. Bowen has given many invited lectures, presentations, and sessions that target faculty, staff, and student development within an increasingly diverse society. Many of his former students now hold faculty appointments in premier research and land-grant universities.
Pender County Board of Education names principal of Cape Fear Middle School
posted Jul 7, 2017, 9:31 AM by Miranda Ferguson [ updated Jul 7, 2017, 9:31 AM ]
Pender County Board of Education names principal of Cape Fear Middle School
PENDER COUNTY — The Pender County Board of Education has appointed Christie Brown Principal of Cape Fear Middle School.
Christie Brown holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, master’s degree in school administration from the University of North Carolina Pembroke, and is currently pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership at Gardner Webb University. She brings much experience to Cape Fear Middle School, having served in neighboring Bladen and Columbus counties as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal.
Brown said she values relationships and looks forward to building relationships with students, staff, and the community.
“I look forward to working in collaboration with the staff and community as Cape Fear Middle School moves to the next level,” Brown said.
Brown lives in Bladen County with her husband of 23 years, Cecil. The couple have a 16-year-old son, Branden, and 20-year-old daughter, Kayla, who is a junior at Methodist University.
“Mrs. Brown will be an asset to Cape Fear Middle School,” said Dr. Terri Cobb, Superintendent of Pender County Schools. “Her experience and expertise at the middle school level will positively impact student achievement.”
A meet-and-greet event will be scheduled for students, staff, parents and community members to get to know Mrs. Brown at a later date.
Mayor James T. Butts has a combined 39 years in public safety, municipal government and education. He holds a Bachelor of Science (California State University at Los Angeles) and a Masters Degree in Business Administration (California Polytechnic University at Pomona).
Mayor Butts has served as a general manager or assistant general manager of large and complex municipal organizations for the past 27 years.
The Mayor served the residents of Inglewood, CA for nearly two decades as an Inglewood Police Officer, ultimately rising to the rank of Deputy Chief of Police. Between 1980 and 1990 he was promoted 5 times. In 1991 James Butts was selected to become Chief of Police for the City of Santa Monica where he served for 15 years. During his tenure in Santa Monica as Chief, crime fell 64% to its lowest level since 1956. Citizen complaints also fell by 50% and police liability payouts dropped by 99% as well.
Los Angeles World Airports
Mayor Butts retired as one of the longest serving police chiefs in the County of Los Angeles to serve as an Assistant General Manager (Deputy Executive Director) of the Los Angeles World Airports (which includes LAX) system responsible for Public Safety and Counter-Terrorism. He was responsible for a budget of $116 million and 1,100 employees. From 2006 to 2010, the Mayor was directly responsible for the safety of 60 million passengers that travel through LAX. In less than 4 years LAX went from being ranked near the bottom in airport security to being named the most secure airport in the United States by the Transportation Security Administration.
Election as Mayor
On January 11th, James T. Butts, Jr. was elected as the 12th mayor in the history of the City of Inglewood California.
Stedman Graham is chairman and CEO of S. Graham & Associates, a Chicago-based management and marketing consulting firm that specializes in corporate and educational markets.
Graham delivers his identity message throughout the country and globally to corporations, professional associations, government and civic organizations, colleges and universities, and community groups.
Stedman Graham has authored 11 books, including two New York Times Best Sellers, You Can Make It Happen: A Nine-Step Plan for Success and Teens Can Make It Happen: Nine Steps to Success. His latest release, Identity: Your Passport to Success, was on the Wall Street Journal Best Seller list. He is currently working on his latest book, Identity: Passport to Freedom.
He served in the U.S. Army and played basketball professionally in the European League. Graham holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from Hardin-Simmons University, a master’s degree in education from Ball State University, and an honorary doctorate in humanities from Coker College.
Bladen native Dr. Jennifer Smith named superintendent in China
Dr. Jennifer Smith
Columbus County, North Carolina Sheriff
Bladen County native Dr. Jennifer Smith has been named a superintendent in Beijing, China. She is the daughter of
Shirley Autry and the late Houston Smith.
China’s education system has a great reputation and is considered one of the most challenging and competitive systems in the world, with accountability standards that exceed most countries.
Smith has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in leading large international educational settings. Prior to taking the leap to work overseas, she was a principal in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
Smith left Charlotte to work overseas in South Korea, where she opened a new school as principal. While working in Asia, her expertise led her to the Middle East, where she was a superintendent of schools in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, for six years. It was a system which had more than 300 schools and 500,000 students.
After serving six years as superintendent in Abu Dhabi, Smith had the opportunity to serve as Continent Education Director for 17 countries within the continent of Africa, overseeing the education in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia, Dibouti, Eritrea, Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Smith has one daughter, Halle, an 11th grader at Black Forest Academy, a private international boarding school in Germany.
“I’ve been blessed with so many wonderful opportunities in both my career and personal life,” Smith said. “Professionally and personally, I’ve always done my best to make a name for myself by my service to others. Throughout my career, the Lord has guided my footsteps to make a difference in the lives of so many children, educators, and parents around the world in the following countries: USA, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, the continent of Africa, and now China.
“China’s educational system is one of the most rigorous ones in the world, in which accountability standards, professionalism, and student achievement are top priorities. I’m thrilled to be leading this educational journey for students, teachers, and parents of China.”
Heading from Wilmington towards Whiteville on Highway 74/76, you've inevitably seen a piece land filled with various types of yard art.
The first thing that you notice is a 20 foot Uniroyal gal, a rare piece of Americana, one of only 11 left in the entire country. Then there are clowns, chickens, horses, bears, bulls, lions and crocodiles - the list goes on and on.
"People are so excited about it, they drive down the road they drive back and they say what is this what is this all about? So a lot of times I find myself being repetitive and telling the story over and over again," Hubert Graham said.
The story of how these 250 fiberglass figurines came to be dates back to a time in 1996 when he and his wife were robbed. Thieves made out with the couple's checkbooks and cash. It sparked an idea in Graham.
"At that time I told my wife, 'You know, I am going to build something outside the road to detour people but something that records and lights up when someone enters the driveway,' and boom the lighthouses were born," Graham explained.
What started out as Graham selling handmade 8-foot lighthouses, quickly transpired into a fantastical fiberglass feat.
He learned the art of making the oversized objects from a friend and mentor.
"I started buying molds from my friend Bill," Graham said. "He had about 55 to 60 molds and started making fiberglass and then I started making molds. Eventually, I got more technical on how to make everything from animals to boats."
But his dream is much bigger than just making fiberglass art. His goal is to use the fiberglass animals to create Columbus County's first amusement park and mini golf course. Just hearing him talk about is enough to get anyone excited.
"I am making 10 of every animal. I have 75 molds so that is 750 animals. Put a motor in the middle of each one add a saddle to them cover up and then make it a merry go round, then that way you can ride a chicken you can ride a horse you can ride a cow, a bull a bear, a calf a sheep, you can ride whatever I make," Graham said full of excitement.
He is catering the park to the autistic or those with disabilities as well - a giant sized dream fueled from being shunned at church in the 1970s. He was the only black boy in a white church choir in Columbus County.
"One day the pastor tapped me on the shoulder and he said hey, some of the members don't want you inside of this church," said Graham, adding that the incident taught him that everyone should be treated equally and can co-exist together.
Graham hopes to have the park up and running in the next eight months.
Grahamland: one man's dream for a Columbus County, North Carolina amusement park
Tamera Young: Former Laney HS star finds success on and off the WNBA courts
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) -
Tamera Young’s record-setting college basketball career and ten-year WNBA career may not have happened, had it not been for a decision made by her older sister when the two were teenagers. Tamera started playing the game outside her parents’ house in Wilmington and at Girls Inc, an after-school program in the city. Tamera and her sister Nikia both played AAU basketball, but when their team in Wilmington folded, they wanted to join a team in Raleigh. That’s when a gesture of love kept Tamera’s development on track.
“My mother couldn’t afford for both of us to play with the traveling, it was just a lot more expensive,” Tamera says. “My sister said ‘Mom, since Tamera loves the game more than I do, I’ll just sit out and let her do it’. So my sister sat out and I continued to play AAU. I’m always forever grateful for that, it’s a blessing. The sacrifices that my mother made, to put the money aside for me to the have the opportunity to play.”
Along with her skills, Tamera’s height grew dramatically as she entered Laney High School. A growth spurt took her to 6’2”, and she went from playing point guard to forward and center. Tamera became a star on Coach Sherry Tynes’ Lady Buccaneer teams, leading Laney to Mid-Eastern Conference championships in her junior and senior seasons. Despite her success, Tamera was not highly-recruited as a college prospect. She talks about the decision to attend James Madison University of the Colonial Athletic Association at 11:15 of the podcast.
“I remember playing in the East-West All-Star Game, and at that time I had already signed to James Madison,” Tamera remembers. “Even then were still college coaches didn’t know who I was. I won MVP for that basketball game, and I remember the coach for (University of North) Carolina asked one of my family members ‘who is this kid?’ People even then didn’t know who I was, but they knew I won MVP and I guess they saw something they hadn’t seen before.”
Coaches and fans that did not know who Tamera Young was, would soon learn about her talents. Under the guidance of James Madison Head Coach Kenny Brooks, Tamera took her game to new heights as a member of the Lady Dukes. She made the All-CAA first team as a sophomore, setting the first of her many school records for points, three-point field goals made and double-doubles (double-digit points and rebounds in a game). The prospect of Tamera playing professional basketball began to grow.
“I remember Coach Brooks telling me if I met him halfway, he could help me get to the WNBA,” she says. “It was always in the back of my mind, because I loved the game so much, and I knew that after college I wanted to still play.”
According to jmusports.com, here is a list of the school or league records Tamera held after her college career:
CAA and school career scoring record (2,121)
Second player in school history with more than 1,000 rebounds (1,127)
School record for points in a game (38)
School record season points (693)
School record season scoring average (20.4)
School-record career scoring average (16.7)
School-record career steals (275)
School-record career starts (125)
School-record 44 consecutive games in double figures
School career record 112 games scoring in double figures
School record 1,428 career points by a junior;
School sophomore records for points, field goals attempted, three-point field goals made and attempted
On April 9, 2008, Tamera’s dream became of playing in the Women’s National Basketball Association became reality. She was taken with the eighth pick of the first round by the expansion Atlanta Dream franchise, becoming the first JMU player drafted into the league. Tamera talks at 21:25 of the podcast about how nervous she was on draft night waiting for her name to be called.
“The waiting, my nerves were just going crazy, because you don’t know actually (when it will happen),” she says. “You hear things, there are predictions. But you don’t know exactly when your name is going to be called until it’s called. The night that my name was called, I was shocked.”
Basketball then became a job for the rookie from Wilmington. It wasn’t easy. Tamera was used to starting games, playing a lot of minutes, and winning. In her first season with the Dream, Tamera started just 15 of 33 games, and played just 22 minutes a game. Her 7.3 scoring average was well below what she was used to contributing, and the team finished with a 4-30 record.
“I did a lot of shopping that year,” Tamera says with a laugh. “Retail therapy. It was a big difference, you know, coming from winning, coming from playing all the time and having fun. Losing isn’t fun. No matter what you’re doing, no matter how much you love the game. Losing isn’t fun.”
Tamera’s career took another turn after that first season, when the Dream traded her to the Chicago Sky. Things started slowly with her new team, but in 2013 the team went 24-10 and won the WNBA’s Eastern Conference championship. The next season, the Sky made a second straight trip to the WNBA Finals, with Tamera starting all nine playoff games and coming up big for her team at a crucial moment. In game 2 of the Eastern Conference Championship series against the Indiana Fever, Tamera hit a last second shot to force overtime. The Sky ended up winning the game and advancing to the finals. Tamera talks about her time in Chicago and that highlight at 27:55 of the podcast.
During the 2017 season, Chicago traded Tamera back to Atlanta. She finished her tenth season and is currently a free agent, looking to sign with a team for 2018. During the offseason, Tamera is busy as CEO of her clothing line, TY1. Tamera launched the company in November 2016, and talks about becoming a businesswoman during the podcast.
“I didn’t want to only focus on sports gear,” she says. “I also wanted to focus on different lifestyle clothing that you could wear outside of working out or training as well. It’s interesting. It’s something that I enjoy and that I love.”
In 2015, Tamera and former New Hanover HS star Kris Clark started an annual charity basketball event at the Martin Luther King Center in Wilmington. Proceeds from their Kill Cancer 3-on-3 Tournament benefit the American Cancer Society. Both athletes have a personal reason for donating their time and energy to the cause.
“It’s something that I dedicate to my father who died from cancer, and Kris dedicated to his father who passed from cancer as well,” Tamera says. “It makes us feel good to be in a situation where we can do something to make our fathers proud, but also do something for our city as well.”
Tamera Young says she has always lived by the motto of “prove doubters wrong”. Even to this day, she says there are people who second guess whether she can get the job done. Tamera has used that as motivation to succeed, both on and off the basketball court.
You can listen to the entire interview with Tamera Young on the free “1on1 with Jon Evans” podcast:
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