The Tampa Bay Area Chapter is uniquely inspired by the legacy of our esteemed Spelman Sister, a Hillsborough County and Tampa native, Blanche Armwood. Known as the “Female Booker T. Washington,” she was an educator, activist, orator, and trailblazer.
Ms. Armwood graduated from Spelman Seminary (now Spelman College) in 1906, following her studies at St. Peter Claver Catholic School. Her contributions to Hillsborough County and Tampa are so exceptional, that in 1984 a high school in Seffner was named in her honor, Armwood High School.
In 2014, her bust was included on the Historical Monument Trail along the Riverwalk. The legacy of Blanche Armwood in Hillsborough County and Tampa is an inspiration for our Chapter and this Gala. At the Gala we will present the Blanche Armwood Legacy Award to a deserving individual from the community.
2022 marked the 100th year celebration of her appointment as Supervisor of Negro Schools in Hillsborough County and as the founding Executive Secretary of the Tampa Urban League.
Born in 1890 to prominent, middle class African American family in Tampa, FL. Blanche's father was the first Black policeman in Tampa, her great uncle was a landowner and negotiator between Seminoles and white settlers, and her grandfather was a Hillsborough County commissioner.
☛ At the age of 12, Blanche passed the Florida State Uniform Teachers Examination and later graduated summa cum laude from Spelman Seminary at the age of 16.
☛ Blanche became the first Executive Secretary of the Tampa Urban League in 1922. During her tenure, the Tampa Urban League established a library, hospital, high school day nursery, kindergarten, public playground, and a health program for children.
☛ From 1922-1930, Blanche was appointed Supervisor of Negro Schools for Tampa and Hillsborough County.
☛ In 1938, Blanche earned a Juris Doctorate from Howard University School of Law becoming the FIRST BLACK WOMAN IN STATE OF FLORIDA TO EARN A LAW DEGREE
☛ Blanche became ill and died October 16, 1939, in Medford Massachusetts, while on a speaking tour. She was eulogized by Dr. Benjamin Mays, President of Morehouse College and is buried in the family plot in A Unione Italiana Cemetery in Tampa.
☛ In 1984, Blanche Armwood Comprehensive High School opened and is now known as Armwood High School in Seffner, FL.
☛ Blanche Armwood was married three times. Her first marriage to Daniel Webster was annulled after one year. She later married Dr. John C. Beatty who was killed in a tragic shooting accident. She was married to her third husband, Edward T. Washington, until her death.