Eartha M. White was an African-American businesswoman, humanitarian, philanthropist, and educator from Jacksonville, Florida. She provided educational opportunities and relief to #Black people in the Jacksonville area. White founded many organizations and institutions during her time, including the Ciara White Mission, Boy’s Improvement Club, and Mercy Hospital.
White was born in Jacksonville, Florida on November 8, 1876, and she was the 13th child of a former slave. White was adopted at a young age by Clara English White, and it was by her mother’s example, White sought out to improve the conditions of the poor people in Jacksonville. Upon graduation from the Stanton School in Jacksonville, she moved to New York City. She attended the Madam Hall Beauty School and the National Conservatory of Music. White traveled for a while performing as an opera singer, but later found her way back to her passion for humanitarian work.
White worked hard to get the first public school for Black students in the community of Bayard established. In 1899 she convinced Bartolo Genovar to donate land and tools for construction of the school. She taught in the school for sixteen years and was involved in politics often participating when needed with the Republican Party. White also worked to establish the Colored Citizens Protective League in Jacksonville. At the age of 20 White got engaged, but unfortunately her fiancé died from tuberculosis.
In 1902, White along with her mother opened up the “Colored Old Folks Home”. Later, the home became known as the “#Eartha White Nursing Home”, and now “Eartha M.M. White Health Care, Inc. White also had several other endeavors such as: a comprehensive maternity program with a home for unwed mothers, an orphanage, and an adoption agency. She was awarded the Lane Bryant Award for Volunteer Service and was appointed to the President’s National Center for Voluntary Action in 1971. White died at the age of 97 in 1974 from heart failure.