Clara Jackson McLaughlin passed away on October 3, 2021, at the age of 81.
She was best known for being the first Black woman to own and be the majority shareholder of a network-affiliated TV station in the United States. Upon securing ownership of KLMG-TV in East Texas, she also became the first Black person to own a CBS affiliate station.
She was born in Brunswick, Georgia, where she spent the early years of her childhood. When her family moved to Gainesville, Florida, she attended the historic, all-Black Lincoln High School. A graduate of Howard University, she was instrumental in establishing a journalism major at the institution. She also served as the editor-in-chief of the school’s yearbook in 1972 when it received national recognition as the first HBCU to win the All American Award for a student publication. In addition, she was a Navy Veteran.
She became the owner of The Florida Star and Georgia Star newspapers in 2002, after purchasing it from the founding Simpson family, bringing her life to a full circle with a return to her first love, journalism.
bringing her life to a full circle by returning to the Florida community with one of her first loves, journalism. She truly loved being back in North Florida as she enjoyed a great relationship with many churches, charities, law enforcement associations, sports teams, and area businesses.
In her later years, she beat breast cancer twice and other illnesses spending the last month on home hospice after a hard-fought battle with illness.
Clara will be missed by many as she leaves behind two children, a grandson, and many other family members and friends.
The family is requesting friends to send those stories and reflections of her to the Florida Star via mail P.O. Box 40629, Jacksonville, FL 32203, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.