Lewis White

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Lewis White (born November 5, 1932 in Portersville, Mississippi; died March 16, 2017) was a disc jockey, educator, and community organizer, remembered for his "Jazz Workshop" program which aired on WJLD-AM and WJLN-FM in the 1960s and 1970s.

White was the son of German (Bunk) White and Lucille Amelia Boyd, but was raised by his grandmother, Victoria White, in DeKalb, Mississippi. At age ten he moved to Birmingham and attended Lewis Elementary School and Parker High School. He won a regional oratory contest as a junior and was awarded a scholarship sponsored by the Birmingham Exchange Club to attend Miles College.

Whilte graduated from Miles as valedictorian of his class. Afterward he was drafted into the U.S. Army and stationed in Louisiana where he worked as a news reader. After the end of the Korean War he returned to Birmingham and took a job at WJLD-AM, soon launching his contemporary jazz program. In 1960 he began teaching science at McCaw Elementary School. In 1967 he began working with the Birmingham Urban League in community organization and job development programs. He appeared on Alabama Public Television's "Picture Pages" children's program as "Mr Lew" in the mid 1970s.

In 1976 Lewis joined the staff of WBHM-FM as a newscaster and was later promoted to news director. In 1981 he was hired as press secretary for Mayor Richard Arrington. He retired in 1993 and moved to New Orleans, Louisiana and returned to public radio as a volunteer. He moved back to Birmingham in September 2005, just days before Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. He volunteered with Urban Ministry as an English tutor for elementary school students. White was made an honorary inductee of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in 1985.

White was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2010. He died in 2017 and is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery. He was survived by his long-term partner Iris Rinke-Hammer; his son, Erik; and his grandson Jauan.

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