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Gwendolyn Cherry political campaign button


Miami native Gwen Cherry was born on August 27, 1923. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Florida A&M University (FAMU), and a master’s degree from New York University. Cherry taught in the Dade County public schools for more than twenty years. She returned to FAMU for her law degree and served as Dade County's first black woman attorney. In 1970, she became the first black woman elected to the Florida legislature. She won re-election three times. Cherry introduced the Equal Rights Amendment as well as the Martin Luther King, Jr. state holiday in the state legislature. Tragically, she died in a car accident in Tallahassee in 1979. She was inducted into the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame in 1986.  (Gwendolyn Sawyer Cherry political campaign button, ca. 1970s)