Schools%2520for%2520Colored_edited_edite

Whitesboro, located in Middle Township (Cape May County) New Jersey was established in 1901 as a town exclusively for African Americans. The idea came in response to increasing white resistance (racism) towards African American residents living in Cape May City at the time.  The African American Equitable Industrial Association, founded by Reverend J.W. Fishburn and four other members of Cape May City's African Methodist Episcopal Church, collaborated with investors from the South.  Most notably of these investors was a former Congressman by the name of George H. White of North Carolina.

In December of 1901, four months after the purchase was finalized, advertisements for the sale of the lots began appearing in newspapers and magazines such as the 'Colored American'. Prospective colonists had to be of good character and, in the spirit of Booker T. Washington, needed to possess steady and industrious habits.  Once approved, a colonist would receive a number of lots, each 50 feet by 150 feet (about a sixth of an acre) for a down payment of $5 per lot and a promise to till the land.

The residents were under no obligation to build a home or any other structure on their lot, but the land was promised to be good for growing farm produce and raising chickens, so building homes was encouraged.  Home owners had ten years to pay off the initial purchase price of fifty dollars and were charged an additional $2 to $5 a month depending on their income.  Relatively few of the first colonists were actually from New Jersey as the Equitable Association had hoped; most of them were migrants from Virginia or North Carolina, where the name "George H. White" was familiar. In March of 1902 the town was named "Whitesboro" after its most famous investor, George H. White.  When Congressman White's term ended in 1901, he was known as the last African-American Congressional representative until 1929.

In addition to purchasing the initial land for the town, the George H. White Land Improvement Company reinvested it profits back into the community.  Although most of the town's residents were preoccupied with farming the land, many residents were employed by the Improvement Company to construct the first buildings and roads in the community.  

Whitesboro's population grew steadily modestly reaching 100 residents in 1906.  By 1909, Whitesboro boasted two churches, and industrial school for children, a railroad station, a post office and a hotel, all built by residents.  The town was also on three railroad lines including one that went east to the Atlantic Coast.  The slow steady growth in population continued until the Great Depression.  Nonetheless, the town survived financial downturn and continues to exist today with approximately 2,000 plus residents.

With the assistance of the George H. White Land Improvement Company, these pioneering investors purchased 2,000 acres of land (approximately ten miles north of Cape May City for $14,000) in what now is Whitesboro, Wildwood Junction Heights and Wildwood Heights.

HISTORY

 

Whitesboro

March 1901

The town was named "Whitesboro" after its most famous investor, George H. White. 

September/August 1901

The purchase of land was finalized. 

December 1901 

           Investors purchased 2,000 acres of land (approximately ten miles north of Cape May City for $14,000) in what is now Whitesboro, Wildwood Junction Heights and Wildwood Heights. 

           Advertisements for the sale of the lots began appearing in newspapers and magazines such as the 'Colored American'. 

           Once approved, a colonist would receive a number of lots, each 50 feet by 150 feet (about a sixth of an acre) for a down payment of $5 per lot and a promise to till the land. 

PRE-TOWN

 

Establishment

1902

 Whitesboro, New Jersey was established in 1902 as a town exclusively for African Americans.

            The idea came in response to increasing white resistance (racism) towards African American residents living in Cape May City

             at the time. 

1904

The first church and one-room school started. The first teacher in the original school was Mamie White, the daughter of George H. White.

1906

Whitesboro's population grew steadily modestly reaching 100 residents. The slow steady growth in population continued until the Great Depression. (It continues to exist today with approximately 2,000 plus residents.)

1909

Whitesboro boasted two churches, an industrial school for children, a railroad station, a post office and a hotel, all built by residents. The town was also on three railroad lines including one that went east to the Atlantic Coast.  

1910

St. Stephen African American Methodist Episcopal Church (the first Methodist Church in town) was dedicated after a group of Whitesboro residents who left First Baptist Church.

1910 - 1967

Whitesboro Grammar School served the community.

1989

The Annual Whitesboro Community Reunion was initiated.

2006

The Johnson Family Historical Trust discovered the value of its original deed to Whitesboro property from the George H. White Realty Company.

2008

Oprah Winfrey donated $1 million to the Concerned Citizens’ scholarship fund.

2009

The Household of Ruth Cemetery (the oldest cemetery in Whitesboro, the resting place of some of the original settlers, WWI and WWII Veterans) on Pennsylvania Avenue was restored. 

2016

CCW, Inc. launched the Household of Ruth Cemetery Project in order to cover the revitalization cost of an estimated $12,000. 

In April 2016 the beautification began with community residents, the local Boy Scouts Troop and members of CCW, Inc. forming a clean-up crew to prepare the cemetery for the first phase of the project.

July 2020

The new Whitesboro Post Office was officially welcomed that honors the town’s namesake. 

POST-TOWN

 

Establishment

Whitesboro came in response to increasing white resistance (racism) towards African American residents living in Cape May City at the time.

Investors

  • George H. White whom the town was named after, was a former Congressman of North Carolina. 

    • His company George H. White Land Improvement Company was a key part of the investment

    • When Congressman White's term ended in 1901, he was known as the last African-American Congressional representative until 1929.

    • He reinvested the land’s profits back into the community. Although most of the towns's residents were preoccupied with farming the land, many residents were employed by the Improvement Company to construct the first buildings and roads in the community. 

  • Booker T. Washington, an American educator, author, orator, and adviser to multiple presidents of the United States. 

    • He was a key proponent of African-American businesses and one of the founders of the National Negro Business League.

    • Washington mobilized a nationwide coalition of middle-class blacks, church leaders, and white philanthropists and politicians, with a long-term goal of building the community's economic strength and pride by a focus on self-help and schooling.

  • Reverend J.W. Fishburn (founder of the African American Equitable Industrial Association) was another investor with four other members from the Cape May City’s AME Zion Church.

    • He purchased the land in an effort inspired by the self-help philosophy of Booker T. Washington.

  • Paul Laurence Dunbar, an American poet, novelist, and playwright of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Whitesboro’s population is 2,205 and 37.1 percent of the residents are black, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

African Americans settled in Whitesboro after being forced out of Cape May and areas of the south, particularly North Carolina.

TRIVIA