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Mon, 03.06.1922

Camilla P. Thompson, Educator, and Historian born

Camilla P. Thompson

*Camilla Thompson was born on this date in 1922. She was a Black educator and community activist, and historian.

Born in Jacksonville, Florida, her mother, Camilla (Bolton) Perkins, was a Jacksonville elementary school teacher and her father, Daniel W. Perkins, was a prominent lawyer. Thompson and her two sisters grew up in the LaVilla neighborhood of Jacksonville, a segregated town, where she attended a wooden two-story schoolhouse.

Perkins Thompson was a Bethel Baptist institutional church member since she was 11. She graduated from Stanton Senior High School in 1939. In 1943, Thompson received her B.S. degree in chemistry from Florida A&M University. In 1974, she received her M.S. degree focused on teaching chemistry and physics from the University of North Florida.

From 1944 to 1976, Thompson taught chemistry, physics, and math at four Jacksonville junior and senior high schools.  Abraham Lincoln Lewis Jr. High, Northwestern Jr. High, William Raines High, and Andrew Jackson High School. From 1976 to 1981, she was an instructor of chemistry at Florida Community College. During her teaching career, Thompson was married to Capers M. Thompson, and they had three children, Muriel, Michael, and Reginald, born between 1947 and 1953.

When Thompson retired from teaching, she served on the Clara White Mission board. The White family had accumulated many news articles and artifacts on Jacksonville’s African American life and history.  Thompson volunteered to organize and preserve a large collection of historical materials accumulated by the White family. Over ten years, between 1985 and 1995, Thompson wrote a weekly column called “Reflections on Black Jacksonville” for the Jacksonville Free Press. Her more than 500 articles covered people, places, and events in Jacksonville’s Black history and culture. She is widely known for her illustrated talks on “Remembering the African American History" of Jacksonville from 1925 to 1960.

As chairperson of the Black Historical Tour Committee and as a Tour Coordinator, Thompson served as a principal figure in the 30-site Tour of Black Historical Sites in Metropolitan Jacksonville, sponsored by the Gamma Rho Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Thompson’s work as a lay historian, researching, preserving, interpreting and disseminating the African American history of Jacksonville, has been a major contribution to historical memory and cultural and educational programs for the City of Jacksonville.  Perkins Thompson distinguished herself as both a science educator and an authority on the African American history of Jacksonville, Florida.

As Black chemistry and physics teacher, she was a pioneer for her generation. As a local lay historian, her historical research, writings, interpretation, presentations, and organizational activities on Jacksonville’s African American history were motivated by the need to preserve the history for younger generations.  Camilla Thompson died on March 2, 2022.

To become a High School Teacher.



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