E.W.F. Stirrup II

EWF Stirrup Jr.Realtor / Educator / Community Leader
1904 – 1969

Ebenezer Woodbury Franklin Stirrup II was born on September 19, 1904 in Coconut Grove, Florida. The son of E.W. Franklin Stirrup Sr. who was born on Governors Harbor Island in the Bahamas in 1873 and who later immigrated from Eleuthera in the Bahamas to Key West in 1888 and then on to Coconut Grove in the 1890’s. E. W. Franklin Stirrup Sr. was a pioneer to the South Florida area and upon his arrival to the Coconut Grove area anticipated and realized the need for housing by people of color moving to Miami to seek jobs in the booming new area. He and his wife, Charlotte Jane Stirrup built more than 100 small houses to rent to the newcomers and as a result amassed a sizable property portfolio and landholdings.zer

E. W. F. Stirrup II. was interested in the fine arts most of his life, primarily the visual art of drawings and illustrations, and the performing art of music. He attended Florida A&M High School and Florida A&M College (now Florida A & M University) a public, historically black university in Tallahassee, Florida which was founded in 1887, began classes on October 3, 1887 and became an official institution of higher learning in 1905. He was a capable saxophone player and became a member of the Florida A & M College Marching Band. Utilizing his artistic skills he produced many illustrations for the FAMC yearbook, “the Rattler.” He joined and was an active member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the first inter-collegiate Greek-letter organization established on December 4, 1906 for African Americans with the mission to develop leaders, promote brotherhood, and academic excellence, while providing service and advocacy for our communities. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Florida A & M College in 1928, and later studied law at the University of Chicago and the University of Iowa.

E. W. F. Stirrup II. taught Manual Arts or vocational training a subject of study aimed at developing the manual and technical skills required to work with tools and machinery in manufacturing and other skills to blacks improving opportunities for employment at Booker T. Washington Junior/Senior High School, Miami, Florida in the late 1920s. Booker T. Washington Junior/Senior High School, which opened its doors in 1926 to black residents of Dade County, Florida, is located in Miami’s Overtown neighborhood and is the second oldest public high school that was built for black residents of Dade County. E. W. F. Stirrup Jr. also taught Manual Arts or vocational training at Stanton High School, Jacksonville, Florida, the first school of education for black children in Jacksonville and the State of Florida whose history dates to the 1860s, when it began as an elementary school serving the African American population under the then segregated education system. He was a Principal of Perrine Elementary School in 1933 and also taught at Florida A&I College, St. Augustine, Florida during his teaching career.

He married Pearl Thayer of Jacksonville, Florida and together had four children, Ricardo O. Stirrup, Norma S. Townsend, Edeane W. Stirrup, and E. W. Franklin Stirrup III. E. W. F. Stirrup Jr. joined and was an active member of The King of Clubs of Greater Miami, Inc. an organization of a small group of professional men committed to philanthropic, volunteer oriented service, now 82 years old.during the First Annual Coconut Grove Arts Festival in 1963, probably the first black to do so.

E. W. F Stirrup Jr. was considered a specialist on the Negro, Colored, and/or Blacks and probably had more books on the Negro and records (78 rpm) on or by black entertainers in his collection than any other person or institution in the area. He drafted several manuscripts on the History of the Negro; a comparative study of the boxer Joe Louis entitled “King of the Heavies”; a manuscript entitled “Negro Folk-lore and Music”; and a descriptive commentary bibliography of the Blues and Jazz all of which are unpublished. He maintained and kept a scrapbook on Joe Louis.

Later in his life he became a civic activist dedicated to the protection and preservation of the black grove in an effort to promote, impede, and direct social, political, and economic changes in the local government practices, policies, and laws. The Coconut Grove Homeowners Association of which he was a founding member and President, later to become the Coconut Grove Homeowners and Tenants Association was formed to defend and protect the interest of the Homeowners in Miami’s Black Grove area. Miami-Dade County honored his civic activism and community leadership for the homeowners Association. He continued with his interest in the Fine Art of Drawings, working in several artistic visual media as a means of expression. He primarily utilized wood burning–the art of decorating wood with burn marks resulting from the controlled application of a heated object–painted landscapes, and pen & ink incorporating the use of ink, paints, and dyes to display his artistic skills. He was one of several Miami residents that engaged in producing fine artwork in Miami’s “Colored Towns.” He reproduced an architectural model of the Dade County Courthouse from wood which was so well received that it was exhibited in White Town where it was destroyed while on display. He displayed his artwork ners and tenants of the Black Grove by the dedication in his honor, the E. W. Franklin Stirrup Jr. Plaza a six-story mid-rise building with 100 units for the elderly in Coconut Grove.

During most of his adult life until his death in 1969, he and his sister Kate Stirrup Dean managed and maintained the real estate properties and holdings acquired by their father, and the operation, maintenance, and upkeep of the Charlotte Jane Memorial Park Cemetery organized and incorporated by their father on September 20, 1928 primarily for the black Bahamian pioneers of Coconut Grove with the first person to be buried in the cemetery being Charlotte Jane Stirrup who expired on January 26, 1928.

The accomplishments and achievements of individuals like E.W.F. Stirrup II recall the earliest beginnings of the community, the Black experience in South Florida, and serves as witness to the struggle and achievements of its early pioneers.

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