Everee Jimerson Clarke
by: Esther E. Hamilton
Everee Jimerson Clarke, the daughter of the late Reverend William and Mrs. Cynthia Jimerson, Pioneer residents of the Pleasant City area of West Palm Beach, is a Historian and Curator of the oldest African-American Community in Palm Beach County. She is the grand-niece of Benjamin O. Davis, Sr., the first African American General in the United States Army. She preserves the History, Culture, and Heritage of the city via Pleasant City Family Reunion Committee, Pleasant City Family Newsletter, and Pleasant City Heritage Gallery.
Since 1994, Everee Jimerson Clarke has led the Pleasant City Family Reunion Committee, a community-based 501(C) (3) not-for-profit volunteer organization. Under her leadership, this organization achieved an enviable track record of programs and events that brought students, families, and the entire community together such as The Living Legends of the Negro Baseball League, The Triple Nickles, Buffalo Soldiers, Pioneer Day Parades, Christmas Celebrations supplying toys to needy children partnering with Toys for Tots, Kwanzaa Celebrations, Mrs. Senior Queen and Father’s Day honoring outstanding individuals.
As the creator and Editor-in-Chief of the self-published Pleasant City Family Newsletter, she has enlightened and educated the community with history and current events of Pleasant City while simultaneously promoting local small businesses owners. She is the award-winning author of Pleasant City West Palm Beach, a book which encapsulates the vision and recognizes the rich heritage the Pioneers established since the Styx of Palm Beach Island through their settlement and development of Pleasant City across the Intracoastal Waterway.
The Pleasant City Heritage Gallery was the gem of the city. It contained priceless artifacts, antiques, documents, and a plethora of historical archives of Pioneers of Pleasant City. This is where she planned and implemented programs, cultural events, and gallery tours. Inner-city youths trained on computers at the gallery after school.
Her multifaceted life spreads across a variety of industries and areas of expertise including Politics, Writing, Dance, Beauty, Drama, Pageantry, Modeling, Charm, and Etiquette. Her dedication to the community included creating pageant-based fundraising for WEDR Radio (Currently 99 Jamz), CORE, Professional Black Firefighters Association (Miami), the NAACP, the Urban League and other Civil Rights Groups.
As a student at The Lippel School of Dance, Newark Ballet Academy, Katherine Dunham and Mabel Horsey Schools in New York, one of the first African American students to attend Julliard’s School of Music’s Dance Department, and an apprentice of Ophelia DeVore’s School, she went on to create her own company training black models in the field of Pageantry at the Everee Clarke School of Charm and Dance in Newark New Jersey and Florida. Her students have gone on to become model citizens and outstanding performers such as Dionne Warwick and Melba Moore.
These pageants were more than shows displaying beauty. She created a positive impact by planning pageant awards and receptions at dining rooms and hotels which were once white-only and became integrated for the first time in history. One in particular was the Pennsylvania Hotel of West Palm Beach which she integrated the same day of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” Speech. In 1972, when her daughter Renee was lost in a tragic drowning accident, Everee opened the gates at Royal Palm Cemetery for blacks. She was the first person to get mayors to come into the black community and crown the winning Beauty Queen. She was a guest lecturer at multiple UNCF colleges and universities where she has trained more than 25,000 students in her Personal Development clinics. Her Youth Performing Arts program at the Heritage Gallery incorporated her talents through dance, music, and charm skills and selflessly invested her time into the vigorous training for live performances.
Everee Jimerson Clarke was the founder of the Tri-County Business League and the Secretary of the National Business League founded by Booker T. Washington. She works on Youth-In-Business Programs which will motivate, prepare, and train culturally and economically challenged girls and boys for entrepreneurship. Previous students in her YIB Program met King Hussein of Jordan, while participating in the NBL seminar and awards program at the Sheraton Hotel on Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard. They also received a special invitation from NASA, Washington, D.C., and did attend the launching of the first Russian and American Space Flight in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
In conclusion, Everee Jimerson Clarke has devoted decades of her time and effort into the betterment of the community. She has resiliently stood the test of time through the Storm of ’28, Jim Crow Segregation, and the Civil Rights Movement. Her contributions and milestone of achievements exemplifies a leader bridging the past with the present.