Know Our Names: The Story of Eartha White

Ronnesha Rodgers

Eartha White (left) and her mother Clara White (right).

A humanitarian, philanthropist, opera singer and businesswoman, Eartha White accomplished more in her lifetime than most. Born in Jacksonville 11 years after the Civil War, White attend college in New York City, where she would perform on Broadway as an opera singer. After moving back to Florida and earning her teaching degree, White built the first public school for black children in Bayard. This was just the beginning of White’s success. She would then become an entrepreneur and real estate broker establishing a dry goods store, an employment and housecleaning bureau, a taxi company, and steam laundry businesses.

It’s estimated that White gained millionaire status during her lifetime, but would use much of her wealth to fund her humanitarian work. Alongside her mother, White created the Clara White Mission which feeds the homeless and hungry community in Jacksonville. To add to her achievements, White opened Oakland Park which was the first public park for blacks in Jacksonville.

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