Ivy J.C. Stranahan

Ivy Stranahan was born in White Springs on the Suwannee River, she came to Broward County by wagon in 1899 with her family.

After marrying  Frank Stranahan in 1900 she moved to the Indian trading post he founded. She spent much of her life serving as an intermediary between the Seminoles Indians and the white society growing around them. She taught Seminole Indians for 15 years informally, and worked to create income-producing systems for Seminole women by introducing their first sewing machines.

Video on Ivy Stranahan’s impact on the Seminole Indians:  Ivy Stranahan and the “Friends of the Seminoles”

She was a women ahead of her time in many ways. When Stranahan’s husband committed suicide during the Depression. she converted her home into a restaurant, and even took a course in real estate law to help defend herself against the seizure of all Stranahan properties. She served  as the president of the state suffrage league in 1917, she lobbied in legislature for the right of women to vote.


Ivy J.C. Stranahan was inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame in 1996. The Stranahan House, a Fort Lauderdale museum, preserves her memory today.

For more information:

Stranahan House 

The Stranahans of Fort Lauderdale 


May Mann Jennings

One of the most powerful women in Florida history, May was born in New Jersey, but moved to Crystal River, Florida in 1874.  She married her husband Governor Sherman Jennings in 1891. As the First Lady of Florida she was extremely active in civic work, becoming the president of Florida’s Federation of Women’s Clubs. After campaigning for women’s suffrage, in 1920 she became the co-founder of Florida’s League of Women Voters.

She continued her civic work by campaigning for prohibition, better treatment of children and prisoners, highway beautification, historic preservation, Seminole Indian reservations, and education funding.

She was known as the “Mother of Florida’s Forestry” for her tireless work in ecological conservation, her part in creating Florida’s Board of Forestry. She helped created he 1,800-acre Royal Palm Hammock State Park, the eastern entrance to the current 1.5 million-acre Everglades National Park.

For more information:

Florida Memory Project 

May Mann Jennings Papers

Mary Mcleod Bethune

Mary Mcleod Bethune

Mary McLeod Bethune was born Mary Jane McLeod on July 10, 1875 in Mayesville, South Carolina.

After being sponsored at a mission school in South Carolina and receiving a scholarship to Moody Bible Institute, she moved to Daytona Beach in 1904 to begin her own school. Her one-room school became the Daytona Normal and Industrial School for Negro Girls and taught not only reading and writing but home economics skills as well.

Her school grew over the years until 1923 when it merged with Cookman Institute, a school for boys. The merged schools became known as Bethune-Cookman College and continued to be located in Daytona Beach where it is in operation today.

Bethune was active in the fight against racism and served under several Presidents as a member of the unofficial African American “brain trust.” In 1936 she was appointed by President Roosevelt as the director of the National Youth Administration’s Division of Negro  Affairs. She also founded the National Council of Negro Women and was an active member of the National Association of Colored Women. Bethune died in May 1955.

A statue of Bethune was erected in Lincoln Park in Washington, D.C. In 1985, Bethune was recognized as one of the most influential African-American women in the country with a postage stamp issued in her honor.

Faith is the first factor in a life devoted to service. Without it, nothing is possible. With it, nothing is impossible.

– Mary Mcleod Bethune

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