(Miami-Dade County, FL) --
Commissioner Barbara Jordan honored several women of distinction at the Black Affairs Advisory Board’s Black History Month Celebration. Pictured left to right: Leome Scavella Culmer, Nancy Dawkins, Dorothy Edwards, Dorothy Wallace Graham, and Dr. Dazelle Dean Simpson.
Miami-Dade County Commissioner Barbara Jordan, along with the Black Affairs Advisory Board, honored African American women pioneers in South Florida. The ceremony, which paid tribute to several trailblazers, was held at the Stephen P. Clark Center in Downtown Miami recently.
“These women made a path for us to follow,” said Commissioner Jordan. “Without their contributions to their professions and society, many of us would not be where we are today.”
Leome Scavella Culmer
One of those women honored was Leome Scavella Culmer. Culmer is a keeper of Miami-Dade’s heritage and culture. She is known to many as the widow of Miami Civil Rights pioneer Father John Edwin Culmer, former Rector of St. Agnes' Episcopal Church. Culmer is among Miami-Dade’s leading preservationists and is revered as an educator, historian, writer, archivist, and public speaker.
Nancy Dawkins is best known as one of Miami-Dade County’s premier advocates. Her most effective strategy is bringing people together and building alliances. Her activism has been most effective in service of the needs of children and seniors. Dawkins has harnessed the collective wills of business and professional women and fellow activists to insure opportunities for progress for all people of Miami-Dade County. Dawkins, who is the widow of former City of Miami Commissioner Miller Dawkins, is an educator for Miami-Dade County Public Schools.
Dorothy Edwards is known for her achievements as a professional educator. Edwards was among the first women to earn an undergraduate degree in physical education from Florida A&M University. She has applied her skills as a physical education and business teacher, guidance counselor, swimming instructor, and as Assistant Principal at Booker T. Washington Senior High School and Miami Northwestern Senior High School. Edwards, who is the widow of the late Oscar Edwards, was inducted into the Florida A&M Sports Hall of Fame.
Dorothy Wallace Graham
Dorothy Wallace Graham is one of the community’s foremost innovators, educators and club women. Graham is a trendsetter who overcame considerable challenges to pursue and achieve her early education. Graham studied at the prestigious Columbia University in New York City. She is married to Edward Wendell Graham and the couple served as professors at Florida A&M College. Upon returning to Miami, Graham taught science at Booker T. Washington, Allapattah Middle and Hialeah Jr. High schools. She is a woman of cultural, spiritual and social achievement.
Dazelle Dean Simpson, M.D.
Dazelle Dean Simpson is Florida's first black pediatrician. She is the granddaughter of Dade County pioneer E. W. F. Stirrup, Sr. Dr. Simpson is a woman of firsts. She was first in her high school class and first in college and medical school. She is the first black person in Florida to achieve a specialist certificate in her field, first black president of the Greater Miami Pediatrics Society, first black member of a medical school Board of Trustees, and first to create a scholarship fund for Florida’s black healthcare professionals. She continues as a beacon in her profession and remains first in the hearts of Miami-Dade County.