Charles W. White (1918-1979) is one of America’s most recognized African American and social realist artists of the 20th century. White worked in a figurative style, championing social justice by portraying the heroism of common people. He produced paintings on canvas, but he is best known for his monumental drawings and printmaking. He mentored numerous artists, many of whom have become important contemporary artists. In addition, White was a professor at the prestigious Otis College of Art and Design, where he chaired the Drawing Department. His works are in the collections of major museums and libraries around the world.
UT Austin recently received a significant collection of White’s artwork from Susan G. and Edmund W. Gordon — both distinguished advocates for children and social justice. She is a physician and professor, and he is the Richard March Hoe Professor Emeritus of education and psychology at Columbia University. They are the parents of Edmund T. Gordon, the founding chair of the African and African Diaspora Studies Department. In December 2014, the newly renovated and expanded Geography Building was renamed the Gordon-White Building to honor the significant social, educational and cultural contributions of the Gordon and White families.