As we approach Election Day on November 5, 2019, it is vital that everyone who is eligible will cast their vote. As I reflect upon our history as African Americans in our city and our nation, I am grateful to God for men and women who served as trailblazers. John F. White, Sr. was truly a trailblazer. September 15, 2019 marked twenty years since the Lord called him home to glory. He was a man for all seasons and was truly one who loved the Lord and loved God’s people.

John was raised and educated in Berlin, Md. On March 27, 1948, John married the late Sylvia Lewis White. Of this union two sons were born, John F. White, Jr. and Michael White, who preceded him in death. On May 15, 1993, John was united in Holy Matrimony to Patricia Washington White who was a loving devoted wife and friend.

He was well rounded and served on many boards but was really known by some as the Dean of African American politics in Philadelphia, and was one of the founders of the Black Political Forum in 1968, which served as a think tank and voice of activism in Philadelphia’s political scene for more than thirty years. In my humble view John F. White, Sr. stands as a giant with legends who have paved the way. We cannot let his work go undone.

We are now faced with a president who has no regard for people, particularly African Americans. We as a nation have been blessed with our first African American president, Barak Obama, which was the dream of John White and our forefathers. Let us keep the dream alive by electing men and women who are deeply concerned about the lives of all of God’s people. Let us not forget men like John F. White Sr., and the countless men and women who have been trailblazers for justice and equality. I am grateful to God as a member of the Black Political Forum we saw our first African American Mayor, W. Wilson Goode, who was also a member of the Black Political Forum. Dr. Goode cared deeply for John F. White, Sr., and has never forgotten the contributions made in his life and in the lives of others.

My interest in politics is the result of John F. White, Sr., and I plan to run by God’s grace as a Delegate in 2020 for the democratic nominee. We have some incredible candidates and we must cast our vote. I am sure if John were alive, he would be speaking boldly not only about the need to vote but for the rights of God’s people, those who are underserved, and those incarcerated. John White, Jr., John’s son, continues to carry the mantle for his dad even though he is not serving in public office. His heart is still with the well being of people.

John F. White, Sr. was more than just a political pioneer, he was a man of God, father, husband and grandfather. He served as my spiritual father, teaching me in Sunday school, and being a part of my life. I shall ever be grateful for him and countless others who have sowed into my life. When I cast my vote, I will be thinking of him, his faithful wife Pat, his son and his entire family. Only what we do for Christ will last. Remember someone today who has impacted your life and give thanks to God for them.

The Rev. Charles W. Quann is the pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Spring House.

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