Stanley White Recreation Center is named for Stanley Augustus White, who was athletic director for Cedar Street Recreation Center and a minor-league baseball player who died in an electrical accident during a game on Father’s Day, June 20, 1971.
Cedar Street Recreation Center was built between 1948 and 1952 for $258,200 and was built for New Bern’s African American residents during a time when courts ruled that segregation was permissible as long as facilities were “separate but equal.”
“Separate” was taken literally, but “equal” was another matter.
Around the corner on George Street, a much nicer facility for whites had been built a few years earlier at twice the cost.
Cedar Street was eventually replaced by Stanley White Recreation Center, whereas George Street was replaced by West New Bern Recreation Center.
The old Cedar Street facility was deeded to a non-profit and renamed the Jasper G. Hayes Omega Center. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.
The George Street facility was repurposed as the Craven County Senior Center.
The current Stanley White Recreation Center gymnasium was built in 1975 for $690,900 just under a half mile west of Cedar Street Recreation Center. An adjoining 11 acres was added and is known as Henderson Park. It includes two ballfields, a playground, a walking trail, and a restroom facility.
The main building is subject to flooding and the playground areas are frequently too soggy to be reliably useful.
West New Bern Recreation Center was built in 1975 to replace George Street Recreation Center for $1.096 million. It is not subject to flooding.