March is the perfect time to catch up with Florida Memory, the state’s photo archives and the Florida Commission on the Status of Women, and the National Women’s History Project.
Think about it: different people tell the same story different ways because each of us sees the world through our own sets of lenses, only one of which is gender.
Learn more about Florida women’s history here.
The mission of the National Women’s History Project, founded in 1980, and others like it is to recognize and celebrate the diverse and historic accomplishments of women by providing information and educational materials and programs.
Meet on the list pages six native and adopted Floridians famous for being first at what they loved.
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OFFICIAL BIO: K Truitt is a second-generation, native Floridian born in Jacksonville. Truitt worked in public higher education for 25 years and knows newspaper publishing, printing and graphic design. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mary McLeod Bethune
Educator and civil rights leader, Bethune was active in the fight against racism and served under several US Presidents as a member of the unofficial African American brain trust. Appointed to the National Youth Administration Division of Negro Affairs by Franklin D. Roosevelt and a delegate to the founding conference of the United Nations by Harry Truman. Bethune also founded the National Council of Negro Women and was an active member of the National Association of Colored Women.
Marjorie Harris Carr
Biologist and Florida environmental activist, the first female wildlife technician for the Federal government. After completing her undergraduate degree, Carr became a wildlife technician in Florida for the federal government – the first woman to hold such a position. In 1937 she married Archie Carr, world-renowned biologist and conservationist. Her own conservation efforts in the 1960s led to the formation of Payne’s Prairie Wildlife Refuge, now a major state park in Florida. Later through her efforts, plans for the Cross Florida Barge Canal project were abandoned in 1971. Today the area set aside for the canal is a preservation and recreation area named the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway in her honor.
Born in 1910, a reporter, owner of a cosmetics firm and test pilot from Panama City, Fla., who grew up in Pensacola. The first woman to break the sound barrier and fly a bomber across the Atlantic and the first civilian woman to win a Distinguished Service Medal. By the time of her death in 1980, Cochran held more speed, altitude and distance records than any other pilot.
Carita Doggett Corse
Florida historian and writer from Duval county in charge of the Works Progress Administration’s (WPA’s) Florida Writers Project during the New Deal. Her workers included Alton Morris, Stetson Kennedy and Zora Neale Hurston. In 1943, Corse became the Florida director of the newly-created Planned Parenthood, where she advocated the right for women to control their own biological destiny. In her letters, speeches and publications, Corse eloquently described Florida’s rich heritage and earned distinction as a historian, writing “Dr. Andrew Turnbull and the New Smyrna Colony” (1919) and the “Key to the Golden Islands” (1931).
May Mann Jennings
Wife of Florida Gov. William S. Jennings, instrumental in the creation of the Florida Parks Service, Florida Forestry Service, and the Everglades National Park, which includes the former Royal Palm State Park she helped create in 1916 to preserve one of the last natural stands of Royal Palms. She headed the Florida Federation of Women’s Clubs and was co-founder of the Florida League of Women Voters. Jennings campaigned for women’s suffrage, prohibition, better treatment of children and prisoners, education funding, historic preservation, Seminole Indian reservations, fence laws and highway beautification.
Aviatrix Ruth Law & Mrs. Robert Goelet in model “B” Wright airplane, Daytona Beach, Fla.
Ruth Bancroft Law, aviatrix seated on right in photo, bought her first aircraft from Orville Wright in 1912 (see photo), and in 1917 became the first woman pilot to fly for the US Army. November 19, 1916, Law smashed the existing cross-country distance flying record of 452 miles set by Victor Carlstrom by flying non-stop from Chicago to New York State, a distance of 590 miles.