Monday, December 11, 2017

Historical honor to be given to Clara White Mission founder

As a tribute to the life and legacy of Clara White Mission founder Dr. Eartha M.M. White; a historical walk from Forsyth to Ashley Street will be held in her honor.  Dr. White achieved much within her 97 years and those accomplishments will be detailed during the unveiling ceremony on Monday, December 18, 2017 at 9:30 a.m.  The walk will begin at the corner of Forsyth and Broad Street to corner of Ashley and Broad Street, ending at 613 West Ashley Street.

With the support of Mayor Lenny Curry and the Jacksonville City Council special legislation was passed to bestow this honor upon Dr. Eartha White in November of this year. The unveiling will occur upon conclusion of the walk.  Mark your calendars and make plans to celebrate a milestone.

Dr. Eartha Mary Magdalene White, born on November 8, 1876; displayed a lifelong commitment to helping others and serving humanity.  Known for her philanthropic and mission work, this Jacksonville native, tirelessly and passionately cared for the homeless community through her charitable work of providing meals, housing, hospital, nursing home and boy’s homes to those in need.

For 97 years, Dr. Eartha dedicated her life to the community as its first African American social workers, school teacher, first female realtor, a soprano with the first African American opera company in the United States, and first African America Census Taker in the state of Florida.  She developed the first African American Nursing Home in the state and was an extraordinary woman who championed economic development, education, organized the Clara White Mission, Inc. for more than half a century.  Clara White fed the poor and disadvantaged in two national depressions, in which the organization and services still exist today.

Dr. White was recognized nationally for her charitable work, before and after her death.  In 1970, at the age of ninety-four, she received national recognition as a recipient of the 1970 Lane Bryant Award for Volunteer Service and in 1971, she was appointed by President Richard Nixon to the President's National Center for Voluntary Action. She deserves the heroic recognition for her work locally, state-wide and nationally.

The Clara White Mission continues to assist Jacksonville's homeless and economically disadvantaged people to gain new perspectives on their lives. Their daily meals, youth services, job training (Culinary Arts, Janitorial and Electrical), employment placement, housing and more are the first steps to a new beginning for each participant.

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