White, Julius (1900–1960)

By: Diana J. Kleiner

Type: Biography

Published: December 1, 1995

Updated: March 31, 2021

Julius White, Black civil-rights activist, was born in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1900. White, who did not finish high school, became a nightclub owner. Described as a gambler with contacts in the Black underworld who would "fight if needed," he was alleged to have shot two policemen. White became a militant advocate of the civil rights movement and a member of the Houston leadership which challenged the White Primary. In 1930 he was among those who filed an injunction on behalf of Black Houstonians denied the right to vote. He served as first president, club spokesman, and plaintiff in a number of cases for Harris County's Negro Democratic Club, founded in January 1932. With others, White rallied behind the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People by filing an amicus curae brief in the case of Nixon v. Condon, requiring reargument of the case. On October 21, 1938, he and others filed an injunction against the executive committee of the Houston Democratic party, asking the court to restrain the committee from prohibiting Blacks from voting in the November primary. The respondents argued that qualifications for Democratic party membership were not met, and that political parties were not subject to provisions of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments. The Court of Civil Appeals agreed with this decision, but the White primary was not found unconstitutional. This came in 1944 with Smith v. Allwright. White married Lula Madison (see WHITE, LULA B. M.), who was also active in the NAACP fight for Black civil rights. White died on October 18, 1960, and was buried in Houston's Paradise North Cemetery.

Michael L. Gillette, "The Rise of the NAACP in Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 81 (April 1978). Darlene Clark Hine, Black Victory: The Rise and Fall of the White Primary in Texas (Millwood, New York: KTO Press, 1979). Francisco A. Rosales and Barry J. Kaplan, Houston: A Twentieth Century Urban Frontier (Port Washington, New York: Associated Faculty Press, 1983). James Martin SoRelle, The Darker Side of `Heaven': The Black Community in Houston, Texas, 1917–1945 (Ph.D. dissertation, Kent State University, 1980).

  • Peoples
  • African Americans
  • Activism and Social Reform
  • Activists
  • Civic Leaders
Time Periods:
  • Great Depression
  • Houston
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Diana J. Kleiner, “White, Julius,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 20, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/white-julius.

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December 1, 1995
March 31, 2021

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