Mr. JACKSON of Illinois. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 2025, naming a post office building in the Roseland community of Chicago, Illinois, as the Willye B. White Post Office Building.
Willye B. White was born to run. She was a five-time Olympic track and field athlete from Money, Mississippi. She was the best female long jumper of the time. She made Chicago her home in 1960 until her untimely death in February, 2007.
She wasn't a household name, but she should have been, especially if your household happens to be one of the millions that includes a female athlete. Or an athlete of color. Or a once or future Olympian. She was better known for her actions than her name, better known for her deeds than her medals.
At 16, she competed in the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games and became the first American woman to ever medal in the long jump, earning a silver medal. She participated in the next four Olympiads as well, and is the first American to compete on five Olympic track and field teams. She won another silver medal in the 1964 Tokyo Games in the 4-by-100-meter relay. Ms. White competed in more than 150 nations as a member of 39 different international track and field teams.
Over the years, White remained active in the field of sports. She represented track and field on the U.S. Olympic Committee, coached athletes in the National Sports Festival in 1979 and 1981, coached and managed at the 1981 World Cup Track and Field Championship Games in Brussels and Rome, and served as the head coach for the 1994 Olympic Sports Festival.
Born on December 31, 1939, in Money, Mississippi, and raised by her grandparents, White discovered her talent [Page: H4925]
for running and jumping at age 10. In 1959, White graduated from Broad Street High School in Greenwood, Mississippi, the same year she set an American record for the long jump, which stood for 6 years. Breaking loose from the poverty of the racially segregated delta, she attended Tennessee State from 1959 to 1962, and achieved national acclaim
with the Tigerbelle team that produced Wilma Rudolph. She moved to Chicago in 1960 and began working as a nurse in 1963, first at Chicago's Cook County Hospital and then at the Greenwood Medical Center. In 1965, White became a public health administrator at the Chicago Health Department. She graduated with a B.A. in public health administration from Chicago State University in 1976.
White was one of 21 people on President Ford's Commission on Olympic Sports, a panel that restructured the U.S. Olympic movement. She lobbied extensively for Title IX and raised money for the Women's Sports Foundation. She worked for nearly four decades for the City of Chicago, devoting much of her time to children's recreation and creating sports programs for girls.
In 1990, White found WBW Hang on Productions, a sports and fitness consultancy. A year later, she founded the Willye B. White Foundation helping children develop self-esteem and become productive citizens through such initiatives as the Robert Taylor Girls Athletic Program. This program taught sports and teamwork to children living in the Nation's largest housing project and provided summer day camp and health care in the form of immunizations and dental and medical checkups.
White was the first American to win the world's highest sportsmanship award, the UNESCO Pierre de Coubertin International Fair Play Trophy. She is a member of 11 sports halls of fame, including the National Association of Sport and Physical Education, Black Sports, Women's Sports Foundation, and National Track and Field. She was chosen by Sports Illustrated for Women in 1999 as one of the 100 greatest athletes of the century and by Ebony in 2002 as one of the 10 greatest black female athletes.
Ms. White passed away from pancreatic cancer on Tuesday, February 6, 2007. It is with great pleasure that the U.S. House of Representatives acknowledges Willye B. White not only for her outstanding athletic abilities, but for her tireless service to the community and to the young girls on the South Side of Chicago, indeed young women everywhere.
Finally, I would like to thank my staff, especially my legislative assistant, Ms. Megan Moore, for her hard work on this bill.
Mr. WESTMORELAND. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself as much time as I may consume.
Willye B. White was quoted as saying, ``A dream without a plan is just a wish.'' It was this belief that led her to become the first American to have competed in five Olympic track and field teams, a feat still unchallenged.
Willye White competed in five consecutive Olympic games between 1956 and 1972. At the young age of 16, she won a silver medal in the long jump competition at the games in Melbourne, Australia, historically marking the first time an American woman ever medaled in that event. She earned her second silver medal in the 1964 Tokyo, Japan, games by participating in the 4-by-100-meter relay.
Born in Money, Mississippi, she was raised by her grandparents and fought through the daily struggles of the civil rights movement. Her love of sports emerged around age 10 when she discovered the joy of running and jumping. Overall, she competed in 39 international teams, four Pan-American Games teams and five consecutive U.S. Olympic track and field teams.
After her competitive career ended, she stayed active in the sport through coaching and other activities. She represented track and field on the U.S. Olympic Committee, coached athletes in the National Sports Festival in 1979 and 1981, coached and managed at the 1981 World Cup Track and Field Championship Games in Brussels and Rome, and she served as head coach for the 1994 Olympic Sports Festival.
Beyond coaching, she also founded the Willye White Foundation which helps children develop self-esteem and become active members of their communities through athletic participation. She has earned numerous awards throughout the years and is a member of eleven sports halls of fame.
She sadly lost her battle with pancreatic cancer in February. So, today, we proudly honor her life with the naming of this post office in her hometown of Chicago, Illinois.
Mr. Speaker, I urge all my colleagues to vote in the affirmative on H.R. 2025.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. DAVIS of Illinois. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I might consume.
Mr. Speaker, as a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, I am pleased to join my colleague in consideration of H.R. 2025, which names a postal facility in Chicago, Illinois, after Willye B. White.
H.R. 2025, which was introduced by Representative Jesse L. Jackson, Jr., on April 25, 2007, was reported from the Oversight Committee on May 1, 2007, by a voice vote. This measure, which has been cosponsored by 18 Members, has the support of the entire Illinois congressional delegation.
Ms. Willye White was born December 31, 1939, in Money, Mississippi, and raised by her grandparents. At 16 she competed in the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games and became the first woman representing the United States to win a medal in the long jump, earning silver behind Elizabeth Krzeszinska of Poland. Ms. White competed in every Olympics from 1956 through 1972, and only an injury kept her off the 1976 team.
She was America's best female long jumper for almost two decades, with a career best of 21 feet and 6 inches. She won nine consecutive United States outdoor championships, set seven American records and competed in more than 150 nations. Ms. White is the first and only track and field athlete to compete in five Olympics for the United States.
Ms. White moved to Chicago in 1960 and lived there for 46 years. She worked as a nurse and then as a public administrator. She mentored hundreds of young women living in Chicago's public housing projects through the Willye White Foundation.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, recognized her humanitarian efforts by awarding her the Pierre de Coubertin International Fair Play trophy, named after the founder of the modern Olympic Games.
Ms. White died on February 6, 2007, of pancreatic cancer.
Mr. Speaker, I commend my colleague Representative Jackson for introducing this legislation.
Ms. White happened to be someone that I have known practically all of my life. As a matter of fact, she did grow up and finish high school in Greenwood, Mississippi, where my grandfather lived, and we knew of her exploits. As a matter of fact, we were close to the same age so we were attending high school at the same time. Then, of course, she went on to Tennessee State, that famous institution with the Tigerbelles, and at the same time I was attending another HBCU university, and we would compete
with Tennessee State. They always won. Occasionally, we may have an opportunity but not often.
Then I actually worked closely with Ms. White up until the time that she died. Every year, I would look forward to contributing to her foundation for the programs that she had, especially in the Robert Taylor and the Henry Horner homes, but especially Robert Taylor housing projects which is also a part of my congressional district.
As a matter of fact, she even ran for public office. Although she was not elected, she kept running and did, in fact, run.
I commend my colleague Representative Jackson again for seeking to honor this great lady by naming a post office in her honor. I would urge passage of this resolution.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.