WHITE, PAUL DUNBAR (20 Oct. 1917 - 22 Sept. 1997), was a judge and city law director under Mayor CARL B. STOKES. He was born in LaGrange, KY, to Florence Harris and Isham H. White, a Methodist minister. He earned his B.A. from Kentucky State College in 1940 while playing on the Negro Collegiate National Championship football team. After graduation, he played professionally for one season on an Indianapolis team, and then worked at the Indiana State Boys School for a year before moving to Cleveland. He did social work for KARAMU HOUSE and the FRIENDLY INN SOCIAL SETTLEMENT, then entered the Army in 1943 and served as a sergeant in Europe. After World War II, he worked for the Cuyahoga County Child Welfare Board (see CHILD CARE), then entered WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY School of Law. After passing the bar in 1950, he joined the law office of Councilwoman Jean Murrell Capers, and became an assistant city prosecutor the following year. White was first assistant chief prosecutor when he was elected to Cleveland Municipal Court in 1963, the first black judge in Cleveland to be elected without having been appointed to a prior unfilled term. CARL B. STOKES chose White as his first law director when he was elected the first black mayor of a major U.S. city in 1967. White held the top cabinet position at City Hall, which made him acting mayor when Stokes was out of town, for only six months when he voluntarily resigned, choosing to leave the political arena for good. He became the first black lawyer in a major Cleveland firm when he joined BAKER & HOSTETLER in 1968. He became partner in 1970, and was an expert on public and labor law and affirmative action procedures. He served on the state board of bar examiners and was a trustee of the CLEVELAND BAR ASSOCIATION and the LEGAL AID SOCIETY of Cleveland. He was a permanent delegate to the Judicial Conference of the 8th District of Ohio, and was a member of the Norman S. Minor, Ohio, American, and National bar associations. He served as president of CLEVELAND METROPARKS, and on the boards of DYKE COLLEGE, the Western Reserve University School of Law, the NATIONALITIES SERVICES CENTER, EAST END NEIGHBORHOOD HOUSE, Eliza Bryant Home for the Aged (see ELIZA BRYANT VILLAGE), Cedar YMCA, BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA (BSA), National Conference of Christians and Jews (see RELIGION), and URBAN LEAGUE OF GREATER CLEVELAND.
White's first marriage was to Margaret Downing and they had a son, Jack Lee; they were divorced in August 1955. In September 1955 he married Marian Stallworth, and they had two children, Paulette and Ronald.
Mr. White continued to work as a senior partner until suffering a stroke in late 1996. In January 1997, Baker & Hostetler established a scholarship program for minority law students in his name. He died at Willow Park nursing home and was buried at Highland Park Cemetery.