A former slave in Georgia, Mildred “Millie” Gildersleeve married M. Jacob “Jake” Gildersleeve. The two were the first African American pioneers to purchase land in Palm Beach. Their land, purchased in 1890, was a vegetable farm that later became Riviera Beach.
Millie Gildersleeve was midwife to Dr. Richard Potter, the area’s first doctor, who would pull up to Millie’s wharf and blow a whistle signaling her to grab her medical bag for a delivery. She helped families experience safe births and care despite strict racial segregation.
The Gildersleeves had five children, and today many of their descendants still live in Florida.
– Rebecca Hastings, The 100 Companies