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Garden 449 Gwendolyn Sawyer Cherry

Posted By nicole anaya, Monday, December 2, 2013

Gwen Cherry Garden

Franklin W. Chase Library

W 5th Ave

Windermere FL 34786

I had the honor of dedicating a garden to Gwendolyn Sawyer Cherry. She was born in Miami on August 27, 1923 and was the daughter of Dr. William B. Sawyer, a pioneer black physician in Miami who was instrumental in the founding of Christian Hospital

After earning an undergraduate degree in biology and chemistry from Florida A&M University in 1946, Cherry furthered her education by earning a master’s degree from New York University. She then became the first black woman to enroll in University of Miami’s School of Law, later completing her law degree at Florida A&M’s College of Law in 1965. She became the first black woman to pass the Florida Bar exam and practice law in Dade County.

Throughout her various careers, Cherry fought for the right of minorities and women. She worked first as a teacher, then as an attorney and in 1970, won a difficult election to become the first black woman elected to the Florida Legislature. She served there, introducing several bills, including legalization of abortions for women who lived in Florida over six months, proposals for federally funded child- care centers and abolition of capital punishment. She introduced the state’s first Equal Rights Amendment bill in 1972. She was serving in her fourth term when she was killed in a car accident in Tallahassee in 1979.

Gwenn Cherry accomplished so much during her very short life and is an inspiration to all women, not just in Florida, but around the United States. In a time when women were considered below their male counterparts, she stood up and served as a voice to be heard and a woman to be reckoned with.

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