FEMININE FORCE: Herstory

Issues that women have faced for centuries lag behind us like a worn-out rag doll.

Some Women’s styles are more vocal, outrageous, others more peaceful. Both styles show Powerful Determination for Women’s Rights As Human Rights: Respect, Dignity, Equality, and Personal Choice.

“Beyond Julia’s Daughters”: Miami-Dade Women Advocates and Activists for Social Change. 1975-2000

Beyond Julia’s Daughters

In this book, the women I wrote about were wives, mothers, family oriented, and some had careers. Their passions and determination were the driving force for them to Take a Stand and Take Action on issues they felt needed attention.

It was a privilege and a delight to have in-person Oral Herstory interviews with Eugenia Bell Thomas and Judge Dixie Louese Herlong Chastain.  Barbara Capitman had passed away by this time, so I wrote about her.  Roxcy Bolton was in the middle of one of her unrelenting persuasions for change and only had time for a phone conversation.

Barbara Capitman- (1920 –1990),  a community activist and author….

A small 1930’s mecca of Art Décor architecture in the South Miami Beach area was on its way out in the 1970’s. Barbara Capitman realized how precious it was and was determined to save it!

Eugenia Bell Thomas (1924- 2015), a dedicated community activist and civil rights icon.

Graduating High School as class valedictorian in 1940, Eugenia applied to the University of Miami. They rejected her for being a black woman.  I asked her if she felt resentment or anger.  Her response, with a strong yet soft voice and a genuine smile: “They missed out on a good thing!”
U of Miami might have missed out on a good thing, but Florida gained the best of Eugenia Bell Thomas!

Roxcy Bolton (1926-2017) became civically active in the 1950s...

…as a pioneering tempestuous Florida feminist and civil rights activist. A force to be reckoned with, she was extremely well-known for her unrelenting persuasion. To name a few: 1970’s lead the nation’s first “march against rape.” through downtown Miami to the courthouse; founded the nation’s first Rape Treatment Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. Challenged the NOAA- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration- to rename tropical storms not only after women, but also men.

She continued her pursuits well into her late 80’s.

Judge Dixie Louese Herlong Chastain (1909-2009).

When I met Judge Chastain in her modest home for the Oral Herstory Interview.  I asked her how she wanted to be addressed, “Your Honor, Judge Chastain?  Her smiling southern voice answered, “Dixie, just call me Dixie.” She had a quiet dignity that was warm, graceful and welcoming, yet she was a powerful force pioneering for youth in the legal system. After all her achievements, I asked her what she wanted as her epitaph. Her immediate response, “That I was a good mother.” Then added: “And life was too interesting to ever be bored.”

Some still feel there is a Glass Ceiling that needs to be cracked open. Others never even knew it was there, like these four women I interviewed. They asked me: Who created that glass ceiling for women? Does it still exist?

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