In honor of Women’s History Month, the Miami Design Preservation League, in conjunction with the Miami Beach Commission for Women, is proud to present Women Who Made a Difference.
This outdoor exhibition is on display in Lummus Park between 13th and 14th street for Women’s History Month. The exhibit highlights the accomplishments of ten exceptional women who changed the course of Miami’s history.
The exhibit is curated by Dr. Lynette Long and was originally presented as part of Art Deco Weekend 2020, which celebrated the centennial of women’s right to vote and the 100th anniversary of the birth of Barbara Baer Capitman, the principal founder of the Miami Design Preservation League.
“March is Women’s History Month and a perfect time to celebrate Women Who Made a Difference,” says Dr. Long. “History often ignores the accomplishments of women, and the Miami Design Preservation League and the Miami Beach Commission for Women are pleased to honor ten historically significant Florida women.”
They are Visionaries, Defenders, Educators, Story Tellers, and Trailblazers. Most of them were born without the right to vote and were persistent with their visions for a better Miami and a better world.
Julia Tuttle (Jan 22, 1849 – Sep 14, 1898), American businesswoman and landowner, is considered the “Mother of Miami” and the only woman to found a major American city. Her vision for the city of Miami as a Southeastern trade hub came true when Henry Flagler extended his railway to the new city of Miami.
Mary Brickell (Feb 20, 1836 – Jan 13, 1922), landowner of major parts of what would become the City of Miami. She was also known as someone who believed in equal rights, lending money to minorities at a time of segregation and bigotry.
Both envisioned a city at the mouth of the Miami River and invested vast amounts of their personal land holdings to help create the new city.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas (April 7, 1890 – May 14, 1998), founder of Friends of the Everglades and author of the Everglades: River of Grass. Her environmental work helped redefine the Everglades as a river instead of a swamp, sparing it from development.
Preservationist Barbara Baer Capitman (April 29, 1920 – March 29, 1990), Founder of the Miami Design Preservation League, paved the way for the formation of the now world-famous Art Deco Historic District. Capitman’s advocacy saved countless Art Deco buildings on Miami Beach and around the country from demolition.
Mary McLeod Bethune (July 10, 1875 – May 18, 1955), civil rights activist and founder of Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona, Florida, national adviser and member of FDR’s “Black Cabinet.” She was deemed “acknowledged First Lady of Negro America” by Ebony Magazine in July 1949.
Marion Manley (April 29, 1893 – February 1984), was one of Miami’s first female architects and a major contributor to the vernacular architecture of South Florida. Manley is also one of the designers of the University of Miami.
Zora Neale Hurston (Jan 7, 1891 – Jan 28, 1960), was an influential author of African-American literature, anthropologist, and filmmaker, who portrayed racial struggles in the early 20th-century American South.
Her coming-of-age in the all-Black town of Eatonville in Orange County inspired her literary works, and the town holds an annual festival in her honor.
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (Aug 8, 1896 – Dec 14, 1953), Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Yearling. The 1938 novel set in Central Florida about a boy and his pet deer was a massive success of the era and captured life in the Florida wilderness.
Betty Mae Tiger Jumper, also known as Potackee (April 27, 1923 – Jan 14, 2011) made history as the first and only female chief of the Seminole Nation.
Also a nurse, Jumper was the co-founder of the tribe’s first newspaper in 1956, later serving as an editor and communications director, which won her a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native American Journalists Association.
Aviation pioneer and writer Amelia Earhart, (July 24, 1897 – disappeared July 2, 1937), departed from Miami Midfield Airport on her ill-fated attempt to circumnavigate the globe. She was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Her journey inspired the masses in an era of innovation in technology and transport.
Head to Lummus Park to learn more about these brave women and marvel at their lives and achievements. The exhibition will be on view throughout March as part of Women’s History Month.
“This exhibit is unique in that it is an outdoor museum so everyone can enjoy it,” says Dr. Long. “I urge people to come and take photos with their favorite heroine and post the photos on Facebook and Instagram. Let the world learn of these exceptional women through social media. It’s time these exceptional women get the recognition they deserve.”
This exhibit is made possible through the generous support of MDPL members, the City of Miami Beach, Miami-Dade County, and the State of Florida.