White Memorial was founded in 1946 by a group of members from First Presbyterian Church in Raleigh. It is named for Dr. William McClanahan White who served as minister of First Presbyterian from 1908 to 1934.

From 1946 until 1952 church services were held in the Colony (now Rialto) Theatre. Sunday School classes met at the Hayes Barton (now Underwood) School from 1946 until 1949. The first building constructed on the present site was the Luther Building, completed in 1949. It was used for Sunday School classes and the Weekday Pre-School and is still operating in that capacity today.

The first pastor, Dr. Charles Lynnwood Brown, served from 1946 until 1966. He was succeeded in 1966 by Dr. H. Edwin Pickard, who served until his retirement in 1993. In June 1994, the congregation called Dr. Arthur Ross III as pastor. Art served until his retirement on August 31, 2009. Christopher Edmonston was called as the newest pastor of White Memorial and began serving the church in September 2011.