Ed White helped create the River City Drum Corps more than 20 years ago.  Since then, he has been working with young people across the state to help tear down racial barriers through music and cultural education.

His efforts have been recognized on the local and state levels. Now, White has been honored on the national stage.  

On Wednesday, White was one of 12 recipients of the National Education Association’s annual Human and Civil Rights Awards.

Hours before he received the award, White told WFPL that his success comes from the ability to combine his work and his passion. 

“We all come here for a purpose and once you connect your life to your purpose, you have fulfilled the reason you’re here,” he said.

White was honored along with the late Coretta Scott King, the wife of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and 16-year-old Pakistani education advocate Malala Yousafzai.

“It feels good to me to be with other people who have fulfilled their reason,” he said.

White said his work with the River City Drum Corps is about empower young people with musical and life skills.  The students involved with the River City Drum Corps have a 90 percent graduation rate, according to the organization’s website.

“It’s all about the children it has nothing to do with me, it’s nothing else,” he said.  “I give it to them, they are the ones that do it.”

For more about White, click here.

Jacob Ryan is a reporter for the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.