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Charlie White Scholarship


The Houston Blues Society invites students enrolled in an accredited

College level music program to apply for the Charlie White Scholarship.

The selection of the recipients and the amount of the scholarship(s)

awarded is at the sole discretion of the Houston Blues Society Board.



YOU could be the Charlie White Scholarship Award Winner! Apply Now!


ABOUT CHARLIE WHITE

Born in Belton, Texas, on May 15, 1930, Charlie later moved with his family to nearby Waco, where he graduated from Waco High School and attended Baylor University. In 1954 he settled permanently in Houston, where he worked as an electrical draftsman for various companies over the years. An ardent proponent of local education and progressive causes, Charlie volunteered with Citizens for Good Schools, as well as the Harris County Democratic Party. Additionally, he was a longtime supporter of KPFT-FM radio, the ACLU, Amnesty International, the NAACP, and other organizations committed to social justice.  A music lover, Charlie also booked and managed some local bands and performers, eventually consolidating those efforts via a company known as Young Artists. He regularly participated in the South-By-Southwest music conference too.


Though he truly loved all kinds of music, including opera and classical, Charlie had a special fondness for the blues. Over the years he developed friendships with many Houston blues musicians, including the legendary Sam "Lightnin'" Hopkins. Charlie also frequented historic local venues such as the Jimmy Menutis Club, Van's Ballroom, and The Reddi Room, where he came to know the bandleader Milton Hopkins. That background served Charlie well when he helped launch the Houston Blues Society in 1993. Though less active in more recent years, Charlie retained his love of not only blues music, but the community from which it came.
 
As a final legacy to The Houston Blues Society, Charlie set aside funds from his estate to establish the Charlie White Scholarship.
 

Here are some of Charlie’s reflections and hopes for  HBS:  
   
“HBS is not an accident. It is the product of the dedication, the abilities, and the sacrifices of the founders and of the leaders who have followed.
I am lucky enough to have known the immortal Lightnin' Hopkins, to count among my dearest friends Big Walter and Milton Hopkins. Those people and all the blues artists I never met and all those who are out there playing blues every night and those yet to come deserve our recognition. They make us laugh and shed a tear and share our love of the music and of each other. That is art.
 
I hope the future will see HBS in productive collaboration with other civic institutions, the school system, the visitors and tourist bureau, the public library, the sociology departments, the symphony, and the museums.
 
Most of all, I hope that the purpose of HBS will continue to be pursued and the people of our area and all areas can be made aware of the enormous richness, the power, and the beauty of this precious cultural legacy, and that the Houston Blues Society will always be the keeper of the flame."



Charlie White 25th Anniversary Speech

As preserved by HBS Archive Chair Linda Miner Kirschbaum


My association with HBS began long before there was an HBS. The first person I know who proposed a blues society for Houston was Ertell Jackson, a deejay for KPFT in the mid 1980’s. Big Roger Collins, a Houston blues singer and deejay also liked the idea but Roger was occupied with creating Blues for Food, now a Houston institution of great value to the community and to the music.
I had many conversations with Kathleen Kern, the Blues Broad of radio, about a blues society for our area. We weren’t interested in a social club; that was something else. We weren’t simply out to see musicians increase their income; that is a job for unions. We shared a dream of an organization dedicated to the unique art form of Houston-style blues. We knew that if a society could keep that music alive, the other benefits would follow.
By the early 90’s the idea of a blues society was on the minds of people like Mike Loomis (Hamilton’s father), Jimmy “T-99” Nelson, and Terry Jerome. Terry rendered invaluable service by arranging for meeting locations and promoting the idea with fellow musicians, club operators, and fans. Little by little, we all began to trickle together.
Among those who were essential to the establishment of HBS were Linda Nealey, who kept meeting notes and whose legal training was of great help, Louis V. Linden, an attorney who arranged for non-profit status, and the great hero of the effort, Kathleen Kern. Kathleen’s immense radio popularity enabled her to promote the idea of HBS to thousands every week.
We knew that it takes more than bumper stickers and t-shirts to build a substantial organization.
First, the must be a purpose, worthwhile, clearly stated, and frequently repeated. Second, there must be people willing and able to commit to the advancement of the purpose. Third, there must be an organizational structure, a constitution or bylaws, instructive enough to provide a functional plan of operation, but relaxed enough to encourage creativity in the governing body.
HBS is not an accident. It is the product of the dedication, the abilities, and the sacrifices of the founders and of the leaders who have followed.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I am lucky enough to have known the immortal Lightnin’ Hopkins, to count among my dearest friends Big Walter and Milton Hopkins. Those people and all the blues artists I never met and all those who are out there playing blues every night and those yet to come deserve our recognition. They make us laugh and shed a tear and share our love of the music and of each other. That is art.
I hope the future will see HBS in productive collaboration with other civic institutions, the school system, the visitors and tourists bureau, the public library, the sociology departments, the symphony, the museums
Most of all, I hope that the purpose of HBS will continue to be pursued and the people of our area and all areas can be made aware of the enormous richness, the power, and the beauty of this precious cultural legacy, and that the Houston Blues Society will always be the keeper of the flame.

Charles K. “Charlie” White, one of the founding members of the Houston Blues Society, passed away on August 14, 2018, at the age of 88. Though in declining health, the distinctive white-haired gentleman most recently attended the HBS-sponsored 2018 Houston Blues Challenge finals, where he enjoyed not only the live music but also the opportunity to reunite with many old friends. That event  prompted Charlie to reflect with pride on the enduring legacy of HBS, the nonprofit organization that he had helped create by drafting its original Bylaws and by serving as its first Parliamentarian.



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