TopicsSkip to the content

Eddie T. Jackson

Above: Librarian Eddie T. Jackson – Story time at the Booker T. Washington Branch Library circa 1927

Eddie Natalie Byrd Thomas Cromartie Jackson

Eddie Jackson was born Eddie Natalie Byrd Thomas on March 25th, 1902, in Tampa, Florida. Her mother, Woodie Julia Byrd Thomas, died in 1913 when Eddie was only 11 years old. READ her detailed family history.

Eddie and her mother Woodie Julia Byrd Thomas circa 1908.

Eddie’s early training took place at the Harlem Academy in Tampa, Florida. After her mother’s death, Eddie moved to Orlando where she attended Johnson Academy, graduating in 1918. Eddie became the first African American woman from Orlando to earn a Bachelor of the Arts Degree, graduating from Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia in 1924. She was involved in the library services at the college, and later studied at Atlanta University earning a Certificate of Library Science. She was also active in many community and church organizations, and was well known for her musical talent. 

Eddie Natalie Byrd Thomas (on right).

Booker T. Washington Branch of the Albertson Public Library

Eddie Jackson assumed her role as Orlando’s first African American librarian on June 11, 1924, when the Booker T. Washington Branch first welcomed members of the African American community to their new library. She remained the head librarian at the Booker T. Washington Branch until she retired in 1946. 

Above: The Booker T. Washington Branch Library in what was the former rectory at the St. John’s Episcopal Church.
Below: St. John’s Episcopal Church, the library, and Day Nursery. Photos circa 1930.

Monthly Reports

Each month, as the librarian of the Booker T. Washington Branch, Eddie prepared a handwritten monthly report in narrative form. Her hopes and dreams for the people she served and for her library are evident in her writings. The original handwritten reports are included with the Albertson Public Library monthly reports. 

The handwritten reports have also been transcribed by year for better access.

1924      1925      1926     1927     1928     1929     1930     1931

March 1927 Booker T. Washington Monthly Report

Librarian Eddie T. Cromartie’s report for March 1927:  “The Booker T. Washington Branch Library is doing exceptionally well. Our enrollment has reached nine hundred seventy. There seems to be a growing interest among the adults as well as the children. Amount of over due fines .82 cents. Number of loans for month 2011. I am in need of some things: a duster, writing paper, one bulb, and some ink.”

Books checked out for the week ending October 28, 1944.

The above report enumerates the juvenile non-fiction books checked out, and also total check outs for Adult Fiction, Juvenile Fiction and Magazines. This appears to be the total for the week ending Saturday, October 28, 1944.

Webster Avenue Elementary School 

At the same time that Eddie served as librarian at the Booker T. Washington Branch Library, she also taught at the Webster Avenue Elementary School in Winter Park. After 34 years teaching, she retired in 1958

From OCPS History: “Eleven OCPS schools were still considered segregated in 1970 by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals – Callahan Elementary, Carver Junior High, Eccleston Elementary, Holden Street Elementary, Hungerford Elementary, Maxey Elementary, Orange Center Elementary, Richmond Heights Elementary, Washington Shores Elementary, Webster Avenue Elementary, and Wheatley Elementary. A desegregation agreement followed, resulting in the closure of many black schools and the busing of thousands of students.” 

Photograph of Eddie and her husband.
Eddie and her husband John Henry Jackson.
Read about John Jackson and the Charity Club.

Eddie passed away on October 26, 1979 at the age of 77. Her obituary, published in the Orlando Sentinel on October 28, 1979, did not begin to list all her accomplishments or her efforts to serve her church and her community. It simply states: “Mrs. Eddie Thomas Jackson, 77, 730 W. Jackson Street, Orlando, died Friday. Born in Tampa, she moved to Orlando in 1914. She was a retired teacher and a member of the Mount Olive A.M.E. Church. She was a member of the Emergency Board League. Survivors: daughter, Mrs. Yvonne Jackson Harris, Orlando; and three grandchildren.”

This painting, by artist John Stevens, was unveiled on February 29, 2000 at an event honoring the life and work of Librarian Eddie T. Jackson. It is currently located on the Fourth Floor of the Orlando Public Library. 


Read Eddie Natalie Byrd Thomas Cromartie Jackson’s family and career history.

Read more about Eddie T. Jackson’s life and legacy on the Orange County Library System’s blog.

Read more about local history of Orlando’s African American Libraries.

To view the images below, select the first image and click on the arrow on the right to advance through the slide show. If you would like to see a larger image, right click and save the image to your device or open in a new window. Open and use your zoom or + to increase the size. 

Back to top
TAGS: , , , , , , , , , ,

Eddie T. Jackson 1

Photos of Eddie, her mother, father, and husband John Jackson.

Eddie T. Jackson 2

Photographs of Eddie, her mother and father.

Eddie T. Jackson 3

From tribute to Eddie Thomas Jackson in February 2000.

Eddie T. Jackson 11

No description has been added yet

Eddie T. Jackson - Painting

Ms. Jackson was born on March 25th, 1902 in Tampa, Florida to Lee Roy and Woodie Julia Byrd Thomas. Eddie's early training...

Grandmother of Eddie T. Jackson

Grandmother of Eddie Natalie Byrd Thomas.

Eddie and her mother

Eddie Natalie Byrd Thomas with her mother circa 1908.

Eddie T. Jackson

Eddie Natalie Byrd Thomas

Carter Tabernacle CME Church

Eddie Jackson speaking at Carter Tabernacle CME Church.

Eddie T. Jackson retirement event

Retirement program for Eddie T. Jackson, teacher at Webster Elementary School in Winter Park for 34 years.

Eddie and John Henry Jackson

Eddie and John Henry Jackson married on August 29, 1930. It was a second marriage for both.

Eddie Thomas Jackson obituary

Obituary of Eddie Thomas Jackson in the Orlando Sentinel, October 28, 1979.

Eddie T. Cromartie at Booker T. Washington Branch

Story Time with Librarian Eddie Thomas Cromartie at the Booker T. Washington Branch Library circa 1927.

Booker T. Washington Branch Library

Located in the former rectory of the

St. John's Episcopal Church, Booker T. Washington Branch, Day Nursery

Photograph circa 1930, of the St. John's Episcopal Church, Booker T. Washington Branch, Day Nursery.

There are currently no audio related to this memory.
There are currently no video related to this memory.
There are currently no links related to this memory.
Honoring Eddie T. Jackson

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.

Obituary: Mrs. Eddie T. Jackson

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.

The Florida View, March 21, 1929

Society Events - Honoring Mrs. John H. Jackson (Eddie T. Jackson). The Charity Club founded by John H. Jackson honored his widow Eddie Jackson at a function in March 1929.

John Martin history of the Booker T. Washington Branch

Brief history of the Booker T. Washington branch library from 1924-1984, compiled by John Martin for the 2001 dedication of a plaque at the 1954 Branch.

Comments to “Eddie T. Jackson”

  1. Sheree Finley says:

    Hi Yvonne What a wonderful legacy to share about Aunt Eddie! This is Sheree, Mary Elizabeth’s oldest daughter and great-granddaughter of Aunt Eddie’s sister Ada T. Payne, also born March 25, 1893. I knew the sister’s shared a similar legacy but this is absolutely fantastic! If you search Ada T. Payne, Friends of the Urban Library you will see the dedication of a community room in honor of your Aunt Ada as well as the naming of the group “Ada T. Payne Friends of the Urban Library” unanimously approved by the board. If you see this message please reach out, I’d love to catch up as you are greatly missed!! In love, Sheree.

Leave a Comment