She Was The First

She Was The First


The first African American to hold modern elected office in the Tampa Bay area, C. Bette Wimbish was also the first black female lawyer in Pinellas County, third in the state of Florida and the first black vice mayor for the City of St. Petersburg. After the death of her husband Dr. Ralph Wimbish, who as the local president of the NAACP led the push for desegregation through protests, boycotts and sit-ins, she completed her law degree and kept the fight alive.

In 1969, she won a seat on St Petersburg City Council and became vice mayor in 1971. She was appointed the deputy secretary of commerce by Governor Reubin Askew in 1973, where she became the second-highest ranking woman in Florida government. And she fought for the expansion of equal rights through her involvement in organizations like the National Council of Negro Women, the NAACP, the Links, the National Bar Association and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

Find out more about this influential force in our community at the Weekly Challenger.