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  • Writer's pictureFlorida Trust

Florida Women Who Made History: Blanche Armwood

Updated: Mar 4

by Adrienne Burke, AICP

Black and white portrait of Blanche Armwood holding an open book.
Blanche Armwood (Tampa Bay History Center)

Blanche Armwood came from a prominent African American family in Tampa. She became a teacher at age 16 in 1906 after graduating from Spelman Seminary. She worked for the Hillsborough County schools, private companies and the Department of Agriculture before returning to Tampa in 1922, where she became Director of the Urban League. Armwood next became the Supervisor of Negro Schools in Hillsborough.

She later moved to Washington, D.C. and graduated from Law School at Howard University, the first African American woman from Florida to do so. Armwood unfortunately passed away before she could be admitted to the Florida Bar. Until Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) began their law program in 1951, no Florida law school would accept African American women. Blanche Armwood is remembered for her dedication to equality, education and reform on behalf of the African American community in Tampa.

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