Dr. R. L. White, Jr. (born March 31) is an American Baptist pastor, accomplished musician, songwriter, recording artist, social activist, civil rights leader, and current president of the Atlanta GA chapter of the NAACP.
White pastors his own church in Atlanta, GA (Mt. Ephraim Baptist Church). He is the founder of the church, starting in 1970 with only 13 members, yet now holds currently more than 14,000 active members.
White was born and raised in Macon, GA to the late Rev. and Mrs. R. L. White, Sr. He preached his first sermon as a tender youth. White attended public school and went on to college later in life. While serving as a postman, he established Mt. Ephraim in his own apartment. He left the post office and began working full time as a pastor. In 1987, he received his Master of Divinity Degree from Morehouse School of Religion in Atlanta, GA. In 1996, he earned his Doctorate of Theology from The ITC school, where he now serves as the president of Alumni affairs. Other degrees include Bachelor of Ministry Degree for Luther Rice Seminary, and Associates degree from Atlanta Junior College, (now Atlanta Area Technical College).
Dr. White has earned several awards, plaques, certificates, and honors, too many to name. In addition to his prestigious history in the ministry, Dr. White is an accomplished musician, songwriter, and choir director with many different talents. He has recorded over 20 albums, many of which have gone gold. Three of which [featuring the late Rev. Donald Vails and the Williams Brothers], went on Billboard Charts. Dr. White has recorded for many different labels. However, most of his work has been done for his own self directed recording company, Faith Records.
In the early 1970's, White met and married Dr. Lorraine J. White, a native of Pittsburgh PA. Mrs. White is a drum major for social justice, civil and women's rights, and serves on the executive board as an announcer and programmer for Atlanta's WAOK radio station, with a program called "Power Talk". Together, Doctor and Mrs. White have gone to many different countries to do ministerial work, preaching, teaching, and charity work as well. Some of these include Africa, Asia, Italy, England, London, and the Bahamas, and of course across the USA.
The building where Dr. White pastors has an educational facility, gym, weight room for workouts, and a Family Life center which was erected in 1989.
Dr. White has organized a school, hospital and church, all in Ghana [Kita] in Africa. Final phases of construction were completed for the project in October 2007, after costs of more than $20,000 were given for funding.
Dr. White now resides in Marietta, GA with his wife. He continues to travel to preach locally and nationally for revivals and workshops, as well as serve every Sunday at his own congregation. He continues to direct all of his choirs.
Nationally accredited Mt. Ephraim Mass Choir was recently nominated for two Stellar Awards and a Gospel Choice Award, for their most recent release entitled "Moving To A New Address". The album features Gospel sensation Rev. Luther Barnes. Dr. White puts his vocals on a few of the numbers, as well as other noted soloists from the choir. The choir can be heard in their church sanctuary on 3rd Sunday mornings at 7:30 AM.
Dr. White has served as president of the Atlanta, GA chapter of the NAACP since 2000. In November 2006, he organized several press conferences and town hall meetings in Atlanta concerning the shootings and death of Atlanta resident Kathryn Johnston. These were mass meetings, and were attended by the public. All of the meetings attracted crowds of more than 1000 Atlanta residents. The meetings resulted in the city government, lawmakers and the Atlanta Police Department changing some of their policies and regulations concerning residents. White's next big break would come in the Autumn of 2007 while representing NFL athlete Michael Vick. White was widely criticized by fans, the media, and even some of his own fellow NAACP members from other chapters. However, White remained a huge figure in support of Vick. Dr. White is currently working on an Atlantan who was accused of over-seasoning a burger for a customer at McDonald's where she was employed. The customer [coincidently] is a police officer for the city.
Dr. White has no plans of retiring soon from the ministry. He is currently working on another Gospel project, as well as having released another book in late 2006, entitled "Negro logy". The book discusses potential successes and failures of the African American church as influenced by both their personal and worship lives.
When he is not away from home, Dr. White spends his time working in many different areas of society such as the Atlanta NAACP, church conventions, and civil issues concerning the African American community. Unlike many other colleagues and ministers who pastor large congregations, Dr. White has remained a positive figure in the media, working both for the people and the Christian community. He along with his wife have avoided the negative profile of political and racial slurs, bad-mouthing to and from other ministers, and degrading tabloid-life rumors. Dr. White has never been guilty of any irate or misleading behavior concerning money or politics.
In an 2002 interview with the www.gospelcity.com staff, White told the press, "I may pastor a large church, but we create community at Mt. Ephraim. This means that we make everyone feel like family, despite the large crowd. Before I give the message, we always announce birthdays and anniversaries if we have any. I also announce good report card grades from our youth in the church, and we do other things that make everyone feel at home....Earlier you asked, 'What do you do besides "church". Well, in my spare time, I enjoy working out, watching Texas Ranger, and most of all, I like to go bowling on Sundays after a long day's work. Whenever we get a chance, Lorraine and I always enjoy dining, or sometimes just taking in a night out on the town."