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Reverend Sylvester A. White, Jr. was born in Raleigh NC in 1940, the oldest of ten children. The section of Raleigh where he grew up he says was close, full of kind, hardworking, honest, family-oriented African American residents. He describes his father, a Trailways employee who loaded and unloaded buses at the Raleigh terminal, as a kind man who worked hard to provide for and protect his large family. He remembers his father as having been a handyman who did a lot of odd jobs for people on his off-time from the bus depots, and as someone who loved baseball and checkers. Rev. White says that one of the strongest motivating forces he had growing up was his desire to make money to make his hard-working father's life easier, and he is proud of the fact that as he grew successful as a barber he was able to purchase a small shop across the street for his father to run. Rev. White's mother was a homemaker, who also enjoyed working with the Cub Scouts (with ten children of her own she still often invited ten to twelve Cub Scouts to spend time at the house too). She was a kind woman who visited the sick. She and her husband enjoyed travel. White says that as children he and his siblings and friends enjoyed bike riding and skating on the area's one paved road, and made many of their own playthings. The family had a smart, protective dog named Mike as well as chickens and a goat. White attended Raleigh public schools, then barber college. He worked as a barber in Raleigh and was drafted during the Vietnam War in 1963, but his unit stayed Stateside a long time and was only sent to Vietnam just as White's two-year term expired, so he did not have to go. He married six months before getting out of the Army. He'd known his wife all his life, but they started dating when she was a junior in high school and he was 20. They have one daughter, who now lives in Garner and has two children. White still works part-time as a barber in Raleigh, but was called to the ministry in 1985, while on a family retreat in Asheville. He went to Charlotte Divinity School, and was invited by the Cedar Rock Baptist Church in Cedar Rock to become their pastor not long thereafter. He is still the pastor there, and is very proud of his church and congregation. He describes the church's growth and activities, and emphasizes the success (and continued growth) of their Sunday School especially; he attributes this success to the dedication and talents of its teachers. They provide meals for Sunday School children every Sunday, and sponsor youth group trips to the beach and other places. A major focus of Rev. White's work these days is on helping provide affordable housing for Franklin County's low-income residents, and he has spearheaded coalitions of pastors and other community leaders to make this happen. Another focus is helping to mentor at-risk teens.





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