Judge William Sylvester White was born in Chicago, Illinois, on July 27, 1914. He attended law school at the University of Chicago after graduating from Hyde Park High School. Upon graduation, he was hired as the assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, where he tried a myriad of cases and enjoyed the experience thoroughly. After fifteen years at this position, he became assistant state's attorney for Cook County.
Interested in becoming a judge, White involved himself in local politics, and his stellar performance earned him three separate appointments between 1961 and 1964. In 1972, White was honored by the Cook County Bar Association as Judge of the Year. In 1990, he began his tenure as a Juvenile Court justice and his expertise in this area garnered him several awards and honors over the years. In additions to these credits, White has also authored and co-authored several articles.
Prior to his judicial career White joined the United States Navy in 1943. White became one of the Navy’s first commissioned African American officers in March of 1944, along with twelve other African American men. These men were later known as the “Golden Thirteen.” Although nearly one hundred thousand African Americans were enlisted in the Navy, none were considered officers until this date.
White passed away on February 16, 2004.
University of Chicago
Hyde Park Academy High School
Emmett Louis Till Math & Science Academy
Ice Cream (Chocolate)
Juvenile court judge and military officer The Honorable William Sylvester White (1914 - 2004 ) was one of the first African American officers in the United States Navy, known as the "Golden Thirteen." In the 1960s, White became a judge in Chicago, and by 1990, he began his tenure as a Juvenile Court justice.
Northern District of Illinois
Cook County States Attorney's Office
<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/15178">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of William White interview</a>
<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/15179">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William White's favorites</a>
<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/15180">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William White describes his mother's background</a>
<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/15181">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William White describes his father's background</a>
<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/15182">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William White describes his parents' educational backgrounds</a>
<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/15183">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William White recalls a racist encounter from his youth</a>
<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/15184">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William White shares memories of his family life</a>
<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/15185">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - William White discusses his early school life</a>
<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/15186">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - William White describes himself as a young person</a>
<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/15187">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - William White remembers his youth in Chicago, Illinois</a>
<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/15188">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William White recalls summers at the Idlewild resort, Idlewild, Michigan</a>
<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/15189">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William White shares memories of the Chicago of his youth</a>
<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/15190">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William White recalls his undergraduate and law school years</a>
<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/15191">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William White discusses early occupational changes</a>
<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/15192">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William White reviews the development of his career</a>
<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/15193">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William White details his time in the U.S. Attorney's Office</a>
<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/15194">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William White recalls being drafted by the U.S. military</a>
<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/15195">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William White details his experiences in the U.S. Navy as part of the Golden Thirteen</a>
<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/15196">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William White details his career appointments</a>
<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/15197">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - William White details his experiences as a criminal court judge</a>
<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/15198">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - William White describes his experiences as a juvenile court judge</a>
<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/15199">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - William White evaluates careers in law</a>
<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/15200">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - William White considers issues facing the African American community</a>
<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/15201">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - William White remembers inspirational figures</a>
<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/15202">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - William White describes how he'd like to be remembered</a>