Old Ned

Arizona Historymakers™

Arizona Historical Society

Elizabeth J. White

1923 -

Honored as Historymaker 2023

Restaurateur, Inspiration for Generations of Men, Women & Children

Oral History Transcript:

Video by Carey Pena of Inspired Media 360, for the Historical League; videographer Leonardo Buono.

Mrs. Elizabeth J. White, who turned 100 February 20, 2023, is the owner of one of Phoenix's "oldest and longest" owned and operated African American establishments, The Golden Rule Cafe. Affectionately referred to as "Mrs. White's," the business has stood the test of time. Through perseverance, hard work, and dedication to her craft, she has weathered many storms, including discrimination against African Americans and women. A divorced mother of five, she and her four youngest children moved to Phoenix in 1963 to help her brother Floyd Jimmerson in his restaurant and the church. Bank loans for African Americans were difficult and for a Black woman in business (impossible) in those days. Local activists Dr. Lincoln and Eleanor Ragsdale loaned her $500 through their loan company. Over the years the hearty soul food cooking at her Golden Rule Cafe attracted such legends as Sen. John McCain, Jesse Jackson, Alvan Adams, and Charles Barkley. She believes in feeding the body and the spirit and is an ordained pastor of Jesus, the Church of the Living God. She has mentored many with difficult pasts over the years. In her words, "We try to be good because that is what the Golden Rule means."