Title: Oral History Interview with William E. White Jr., October 29, 2000. Interview R-0147.
Interviewer: Crowe, Ashley
Interviewee: White, William E.
Abstract: In this interview, William E. White Jr. describes his encounters with religion, race, and sexuality. Bored by the routines of his Baptist church, White sought something more energetic. He found this energy in the Charismatic Renewal movement, a fellowship of dissatisfied Christians seeking an intimate, powerful religious experience. White confronted his racial identity as a white student at Southern High School, one of the first high schools to integrate in the Durham, North Carolina, area, and at North Carolina Central University, a historically black school where his last name symbolized his outsider status. He also confronted his sexual identity as he struggled with being gay, but he eventually came to terms with what he calls his internalized homophobia. White discusses additional challenges, including his parents' difficult divorce, a turbulent relationship with his father, and his struggle with AIDS, a disease that frightens him but which, he says, has enabled him to take risks he would not have taken before. This interview is an intimate portrait of a man standing at the intersection of spiritual fulfillment, race, and sexuality.