A number of state and local dignitaries along with family members, friends and former teammates and players gathered at the parking lot of the Little River Canyon on Saturday for a special road dedication renaming a stretch of Alabama Highway 35 from Blanche Crossroads to the Little River Bridge for one of Cherokee County’s most decorated athletes, Arthur (Tarzan) White.
Among those at the ceremony included State Senator Steve Livingston, State Senator Andrew Jones, State Representative Ginny Shaver, Circuit Judge Jeremy Taylor, and Centre City Councilmember Bess Yarbrough. The guest speaker for the event was Ken Gaddy, Director of Paul Bryant Museum at the University of Alabama.
Arthur P. (Tarzan) White was an Allstate High School football player by the age of 14 in 1929.
White played football on the University of Alabama’s National Championship team in 1934 & 1935 and achieved All-American status in 1936. He graduated from Alabama with honors and later was placed on the All-Time Alabama Team and on the All SEC Team.
White was drafted by the New York Giants; there he was the first time ever All-Pro Rookie and was All-Pro for three years. Tarzan was later traded to the Chicago Cardinals where he earned All-Pro status and also wrestled in the off season.
White enlisted in the United States Army, Air Corps in 1942 and played football for the Army All Star Team.
In 1945 Tarzan rejoined the New York Giants and again earned All Pro status, he was also a Pro Wrestler during the offseason. In 1946 Tarzan became a fulltime professional wrestler winning numerous championships including three World Championships.
White continued to wrestle professionally into the 1960’s; he served in the U.S. Air Force Reserves into the 70’s retiring with the rank of Lt.Col.
David Hartline, an author living in Cherokee County, recently published a new book in which he tells the life story of Tarzan White. Hartline shared several stories of Tarzan’s life and his relationship with White. Hartline and Arthur Pershing “Tarzan” White were friends for 30 years, and the book follows White’s career from the high school football field at Escambia High School near the Florida state line to his time at the University of Alabama and beyond.
Tarzan served as a coach and educator at Gaylesville High School and also was high school coach at Menlo High School where he won the Georgia State High School Football Championship.
He was married to Sara Carter for 58 years, they had two children: Richard (Butch) and Joan.
In 1981 Tarzan was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and coming up in June will be inducted into the Cherokee County Sports Hall of Fame.
White worked for many years as a U.S. mail carrier and passed away in January of 1996 at the age of 80.
In recognition and honor of the accomplishments and contributions to Cherokee County, state and nation that portion of Highway 35 will be named as the Arthur P. (Tarzan) White Highway.