After time with the Army medical corps, banking, and Winston-Salem's Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, a chance encounter created in genealogist Mel White a passion for tracing African American family trees. He gathered data on Happy Hill, an historically African American residential section near Old Salem. This led to a major exhibit, â€œAcross the Creek from Salem: The Story of Happy Hill, 1816-1952,â€ in The Gallery at Old Salem. In 2005, White left his job at Old Salem to pursue his in interest in African American genealogy. To date, he has built a database containing over 20,000 names.