Eddie Jackson was born Eddie Natalie Byrd Thomas on March 25th, 1902 in Tampa, Florida to Lee Roy Thomas and Woodie Julia Byrd Thomas. Eddie’s early training took place at The Harlem Academy in Tampa, Florida. Upon the death of her mother, Eddie moved to Orlando in 1914. In 1918 she finished Johnson Academy and later became the first black Orlando woman to have earned a Bachelor of the Arts Degree in 1924 from Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia. She was involved in the library services at the college. She later studied at Atlanta University and received a Certificate of Library Science.
Eddie Jackson assumed her role for 22 years as Orlando’s first black librarian in June 1924, until she retired in 1946 from the Booker T. Washington Branch of the Albertson Public Library.
The circulation report prepared by Librarian Jackson and dated October 28, 1944, indicates that the young people who frequented the Booker T. Washington Branch library were certainly well-read! It is touching to think that just five weeks later, life would change for everyone in Orlando as the United States entered World War II in response to the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th.
This painting was unveiled on February 29, 2000 at an event honoring Ms. Jackson and is located on the Fourth Floor of the Orlando Public Library. The Eddie T. Jackson portrait was painted by John Stevens.
Read more about Eddie T. Jackson’s life and legacy on the Orange County Library System’s blog.
Mrs. Eddie T. Jackson was Orlando's first librarian of African-American heritage. She was the librarian at the Booker T. Washington branch library from 1924 to 1946. On February 24, 2000, an event to honor the memory of Eddie T. Jackson. This four page tribute along with a notice penned by Mrs. Eddie Thomas Cromartie and published in the Orlando Sentinel in July 1927 were given to those attending the celebration.
You can find the tribute is located in the Orange County Biography vertical files at the Orlando Public Library or you can peruse it here.
Mrs. Jackson was a librarian in Orlando from1924 until she retired in 1946. Orlando's first black librarian, born March 25, 1902; died October 26, 1979.