University of Mississippi.
He served two non-consecutive terms as Governor of Mississippi (1936–1940, 1952–1956). White was a wealthy industrialist and had been mayor of Columbia when he was first elected to the governorship. In 1936 he established the Balance Agriculture With Industry (BAWI) program that sought to develop an industrial base that matched the state"s agricultural base.
Under BAWI, advertising and incentives were deployed in hopes of enticing industries to locate to the state.
Local governments could issue bonds to construct factories that could be leased to companies (who were also offered tax breaks). After leaving office due to term limits, White was a delegate representing Mississippi at the 1948 Democratic National Convention.
During the 1940s and early 1950s, federal courts made a series of decisions that indicated that the notion of "separate but equal" schools would soon be declared unconstitutional. Governor White and the state legislature prepared for that possibility by creating plans that sought to improve black schools.
Among the proposals were increasing black teacher salaries to match white teachers" and building black schools on par with white schools.
White called one hundred of the state"s black leaders to a meeting at the capital to ask for their support of the plan. Much to his surprise, they overwhelmingly rejected his "voluntary" segregation plan and instead stated that they wanted only an integrated school system. In 1954, the United States. Supreme Court made the famous Brown v.
Board of Education decision that declared the practice of "separate but equal" to be unconstitutional.
On August 28, 1955, towards the end of White"s term as governor, the infamous murder of Emmett Till took place. Three months earlier, an African American minister, George West. Lee, had been shot and killed by a group of white racists who drove by in an automobile.
The vice president of the Regional Council of Negro Leadership and an National Association for the Advancement of Colored People worker, Lee had been urging African-Americans in the Mississippi Delta to register and vote. The killer was never identified, partly because White refused to order an official investigation.
Hugh White State Park, a Mississippi state park, is named for him.