Do you know of any black builders off the top of your head?
Can you scan your brain for one? Well, Albert White was an African
American building contractor.
He and his men worked together to build a number of well
known structures in Kalamazoo history. Mr. White and
his workers built an addition to the original Borgess
Hospital. At that time it was in a house on Portage
Street. He also constructed the 3rd Kalamazoo Central
High School in 1898. He supervised the masonry work in
the building of the Administration Building East Hall,
which was the first building of the original campus of
Western Michigan University. Western Michigan University
was built in 1905 and still stands.
He moved to Kalamazoo and began working for a mason. He
begged his employer to teach him the trade but was initially
turned down. His employer changed his mind after White offered to
work for free for several months in exchange for learning the trade.
This agreement eventually turned into an apprenticeship that lasted
for seven years, followed by 2 years of working as a journeyman.
Albert White was 25 years of age when he started his own
construction contracting business. Over the next 30 years he would
be involved in many vital projects, including the building the 3rd
Kalamazoo Central High school, additions ot the Kalamazoo Paper Mill,
Plainwell High School, and the first Borgess Hospital on Portage Street.
This man was pretty resourceful and skilled. It goes to show you
that it takes sacrifice in order to get somewhere in life. Thus,
I produce this quote. Work hard so you can have it better later.