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History of Jacksonville, FL: Clara White Mission and Eartha White Museum
This guide contains information and resources about Jacksonville, Florida. Resource selections include books, eBooks, databases, images, video, and websites about multiple topics relating to Jacksonville, Florida.
The Clara White Mission, located at 613 West Ashley Street, is best known for its food program, although the Mission has been home to many other social service programs throughout the years. A separate facility on the 2nd floor of the mission currently serves as a museum to its founder, Eartha White.
Image Courtesy J. Grey, CC BY NC
About Eartha White
Read a brief biography of Eartha White here. You must be logged into the Library through myFSCJ to access this content.
Photo of Eartha White with her mother Clara White, circa 1910. Photo courtesy of the Florida Memory Project.
In 1975, the UNF Library acquired a portion of the estate of Eartha Mary Magdalene White (1876-1974). Dr. Daniel Schafer, a University of North Florida history professor, was instrumental in the acquisition. The collection contains personal correspondence, documents, notes, memorabilia, printed materials and photographs.
(PRINT) Eartha White lived in the Mission she founded on LaVilla's West Ashley Street. She lived with the poor she helped, ate from the food she shared, and clothed herself from the donations she offered. Though she met with business leaders, mayors, governors, and presidents, she never separated herself from the poor it was her life's purpose to help.
(PRINT) Pages 262-267 discuss the humanitarian work of Eartha White and her contemporaries.
Interview with Eartha White Museum Director Pat Bell
In October of 2018, Prof. Isaac Brown's Digital Media class interviewed Pat Bell, director of the Eartha White Museum, about the importance of White and her mission to the city's history. This video is the final project of one of the students in the class.
Clara White Mission and Building
The current mission was dedicated at 1947 (below). See more images from the dedication here.
Page down to learn the history of the Clara White Mission building. It was constructed in 1908 as the Bijou Theater. In 1910 it was reopened as the Globe Theater. In 1934 the abandoned building became the Clara White Mission.
Links to a dissertation by Peter Dunbaugh Smith on the history of African American entertainment in Jacksonville's LaVilla neighborhood. Pages 74-77 cover the Bijou Theater and pages 80-95 cover the Globe Theater.
Only a year after opening, the Mission produced its first issue of The Friend, a newsletter dedicated to the the Mission's cause and the social problems it was attempting to address. It includes a review of the Mission's first year and its accomplishments, and can be read here.