Albert White a prominent businessman and Mason in Kalamazoo. White was born February 6, 1861, in Canton, Indiana to parents who had walked there from South Carolina. The family moved to Russiaville, Indiana when Albert was five. However, his father died soon after their arrival and to alleviate the burden of four children, Albert’s mother placed him with a farmer with whom he stayed and worked until he was fifteen.
In 1876, at fifteen, he arrived in Michigan ready to work. He worked on another farm for a year. White then settled in Kalamazoo and began working for a mason whom he convinced to teach him the trade if he agreed to work for nothing for several months. He apprenticed for seven years and then worked as a journeyman for two years.
White went into business for himself, employing both blacks and whites. Among the buildings, he constructed were the Hawthorn Paper Mill, Riverview Paper Mills, Original Vegetable Parchment Mill, Illinois Envelope Factory, and the Jewish Synagogue. He also constructed the 3rd Kalamazoo Central High School in 1898. He supervised the masonry work in the building of the Administration Building East Hall, which was the first building of the original campus of Western Michigan University. Western Michigan University was built in 1905 and still stands. Several of White’s buildings can be seen in the book by historians. White died in 1930 at the age of 69.