Portal:Florida/Selected biography/Archives

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Biographies in rotation[edit]

Marjory Stoneman

Marjory Stoneman Douglas (April 7, 1890 – May 14, 1998) was an American journalist and environmentalist most associated with battles to stop the draining and development of the Florida Everglades. Douglas grew up in Massachusetts, married early but briefly, and moved to a very young Miami to work for The Miami Herald. She became a freelance writer, producing over a hundred short stories that were published in popular magazines. Her 1947 book The Everglades: River of Grass redefined popular conception of the Everglades as a river worth saving instead of a worthless swamp, and its impact is compared to that of Silent Spring. Her books, stories, and journalism career brought her influence in Miami that she used in order to advance her causes.

Outspoken and politically conscious of many issues even as a young woman, Douglas was called upon to take a central role in the protection of the Everglades when she was 78 years old. For the remaining thirty years of her life she was "a relentless reporter and fearless crusader" for the natural preservation and restoration of the nature of South Florida.


Mary McLeod Bethune in April 1949

Mary Jane McLeod Bethune ((1875-07-10)July 10, 1875 - May 18, 1955(1955-05-18)) was born in Mayesville, South Carolina and died in Daytona Beach, Florida. A tireless educator born to former slaves, she is best known for founding a school in 1904 that later became part of Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida. She was president of the college from 1923 to 1942 and 1946 to 1947, one of the few women in the world who served as a college president at that time. Bethune worked for the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932, and attempted to get him to support a proposed law against lynching. She was also a member of Roosevelt's Black Cabinet, among other leadership positions in organizations for women and African Americans. Upon her death, columnist Louis E. Martin said, "She gave out faith and hope as if they were pills and she some sort of doctor." Her home in Daytona Beach, Florida is a National Historic Landmark, her house in Washington, D.C. is preserved by the National Park Service as a National Historic Site, and a sculpture of her is located in Lincoln Park in Washington, D.C.


New River Massacre, a work of Cooley

William Cooley (1783 – 1863) was one of the first American settlers, and a regional leader, in what is now known as Broward County, in the U.S. state of Florida. His family was murdered by Seminoles in 1836, during the Second Seminole War. The attack, known as the "New River Massacre", caused immediate abandonment of the area by whites.

Cooley was born in Maryland, but little else is known about his life prior to 1813, when he arrived in East Florida as part of a military expedition. He established himself as a farmer in the northern part of the territory before moving south, where he traded with local Indians and continued to farm. He sided with natives in a land dispute against a merchant who had received a large grant from the King of Spain and was evicting the Indians from their lands. Unhappy with the actions of the Spanish, he moved to the New River area in 1826 to get as far as possible from the Spanish influence.


Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings in 1953

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (August 8, 1896 – December 14, 1953) was an American author who lived in rural Florida and wrote novels with rural themes and settings. Her best known work, The Yearling, about a boy who adopts an orphaned fawn, won a Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1939 and was later made into a movie, also known as The Yearling. The book was written long before the concept of young-adult fiction, but is now commonly included in teen-reading lists.

Marjorie Kinnan was born in 1896 in Washington, DC, to Frank, an attorney for the US Patent Office, and Ida Kinnan. She was interested in writing as early as age six, and submitted stories to the children's sections of newspapers until she was 16. At age 15, she entered a story titled "The Reincarnation of Miss Hetty," for which she won a prize. She attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she joined Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and received a degree in English in 1918, and met Charles Rawlings while working for the school literary magazine.


Bobby Bowden in November 2006

Robert Bowden (born November 8, 1929 in Birmingham, Alabama), better known as Bobby Bowden, is the current head college football coach of the Florida State University Seminoles. Since taking the position in 1976, Bowden has led FSU to an Associated Press and Coaches Poll National Title in 1993 and a BCS National Championship National Title in 1999, as well as twelve Atlantic Coast Conference championships since FSU joined the conference in 1991.

Bowden has 373 career wins, He is one win ahead of Penn State's Joe Paterno(372) as the all-time winningest Division I-FBS coach by total victories. Bowden, along with Joe Paterno and Chris Ault, is one of three active coaches who have also been inducted in to the College Football Hall of Fame. Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Bowden spent a portion of his childhood in bed, sick. When he was 13 years old, Bowden was diagnosed with rheumatic fever. After a six month hospital stay, Bowden was confined to his bed at home for just over a year with nothing more than his imagination to pass the time.


Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston (January 7, 1891 – January 28, 1960) was an American folklorist and author during the time of the Harlem Renaissance, best known for the 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. Hurston was "purposefully inconsistent in the birth dates she dispensed during her lifetime, most of which were fictitious." For a long time, scholars believed that she was born in Eatonville, Florida in 1901. In the 1990s, a filmmaker established that Hurston had been born in Notasulga, Alabama and moved to Eatonville at a young age, spending her childhood there. It was Eatonville, the first all-Black town to be incorporated in the United States, that inspired her imagination.

Zora was the fifth of eight children of John Hurston and Lucy Ann Hurston (nee Potts). Her father was a Baptist preacher, tenant farmer, and carpenter, and her mother was a schoolteacher. When she was three, Zora's family moved to Eatonville, an all-Black town with a population of 125. Her father later became mayor of the town, which Zora would glorify in her stories as a place black Americans could live as they desired, independent of white society. The death of her mother in 1904, when Zora was thirteen, was a devastating event for Zora as she was "passed around the family like a bad penny" by her father for the next several years.


Jeordie White performing

Jeordie Osborne White (born June 20, 1971), also known by his pseudonym Twiggy Ramirez (derived from Twiggy, a fashion icon, and Richard Ramirez, a convicted serial killer) is a musician and currently a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist for Goon Moon. He was previously the bassist for A Perfect Circle and Nine Inch Nails (live only). He is also long-time bassist for Marilyn Manson (1993-2002; 2008-present). He has also contributed to the famed Desert Sessions recordings.

Though born in New Jersey, he moved to Florida sometime during his childhood where by his own admission he grew up on "Star Wars and heavy metal". He has three younger brothers, Westly, Dustin, and Ayden. His mother Dana was formerly a cage dancer for such bands as the Ramones, giving Jeordie famous musical contact. White has been romantically linked to famous women in music such as Courtney Love and Jessicka of Jack Off Jill and later of Scarling. Often referred to as the male Kinderwhore, White adopted his "Twiggy Ramirez" look from his relationship with then girlfriend Jessicka and a desire to ridicule Courtney Love.


Dan Marino preparing for an interview

Daniel Constantine Marino, Jr. (born September 15, 1961 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is a Hall of Fame quarterback who played for the Miami Dolphins in the National Football League. The last quarterback of the legendary Quarterback Class of 1983 to be taken in the first round, Marino became one of the most prolific quarterbacks in league history, holding or having held almost every major NFL passing record. Despite never being on a Super Bowl-winning team, he is recognized as one of the greatest quarterbacks in American football history. Remembered particularly for having a quick release and a powerful arm, Marino drove the Dolphins into the playoffs on numerous occasions.

Dan Marino was raised on Parkview Avenue in the working class neighborhood of Oakland in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, of Italian and Polish ancestry. During his Hall of Fame induction speech he joked with his parents about how far they had all traveled from a place whose name was ostensibly a misnomer ("no park and certainly no view"). However, Parkview Ave. does have a sweeping view of Schenley Park, Pittsburgh's premier park. He attended St. Regis Catholic Elementary School before going to Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, where he also started in baseball, and won Parade All-American honors in football. He was drafted by the Kansas City Royals baseball team in the 1979 amateur draft, but decided to play college football instead.


Jack Youngblood

Herbert Jackson Youngblood III (born January 26, 1950 in Jacksonville, Florida) is a former American football defensive end who played for 14 years for the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League. Inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001, he was just the third native Floridian to be elected. After retiring from the NFL in 1985 he was a member of the front office for the Los Angeles Rams until 1991. In 1992, he joined the staff of the Sacramento Surge and then the administration of the Sacramento Gold Miners in 1993. He was a vice-president, then president of the Orlando Predators from 1994 until 1999. From 1999 through 2002 he served as the National Football League liaison for the Arena Football League.

Son of Herbert J. and Kay Youngblood, he has two sisters, Paula and Lynn. His wife is Barbara and has a son, Robert (who played soccer at University of West Florida). He resides in Orlando, Florida and enjoys sharing his home with the family pets — a 19-year old golden retriever named Jake, and rescued cats Mickey and Scallie.


Steve Spurrier

Stephen Orr Spurrier (born April 20, 1945 in Miami Beach, Florida) is a former American football player and currently the head coach of the University of South Carolina football team. He was a two-time All-American and is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame as a player. He is well known for winning the Heisman Trophy in 1966, and for coaching the University of Florida football team to six SEC championships in the decade from 19912000 including one National Championship in 1996.

Spurrier was a multi-talented athlete in high school starring not only in football but also baseball and basketball at Science Hill High School in Johnson City, Tennessee. A strong competitor, Steve played quarterback for the University of Florida, where he won the Heisman Trophy. Steve finished his playing career at Florida with 4,848 yards passing and 36 touchdowns. At UF, Spurrier was inducted into the University of Florida Hall of Fame, the UF Athletic Hall of Fame, and Florida Blue Key. He is a brother of the Florida Alpha Omega Chapter of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. In 1967, Spurrier was drafted during the first round by the San Francisco 49ers. Spurrier spent nine years with the 49ers before playing his last NFL season in 1976 with the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. .


Lawton Chiles

Lawton Mainor Chiles, Jr. (April 3, 1930 – December 12, 1998) was an American politician from the U.S. state of Florida. In a career spanning four decades, Chiles, a Democrat who never lost an election, served in the Florida House of Representatives (1958-1966), the Florida State Senate (1966-1970), the United States Senate (1971-1989), and as the forty-first Governor of Florida from 1991 until his death in office in the last month of his term. He was the first Democratic Governor in state history to have a Republican-controlled legislature.

Chiles was born in Polk County, Florida near Lakeland. There he attended public school, then went on to the University of Florida. At UF, Chiles was active in student politics, inducted into the University of Florida Hall of Fame (the most prestigious honor a student can receive at UF) and inducted into Florida Blue Key. He was also a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. He graduated in 1952. Following his college years he went to Korea as an artillery officer in the US Army. After the war, Chiles returned to the University of Florida for law school, graduating in 1955; he passed the state bar exam that year and went into practice in Lakeland. He was married to Rhea Chiles and they had a loving family together.


Donald Trump

Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946 in Queens, New York, United States) is an American business executive, entrepreneur, television and radio personality and author. He is the CEO of the Trump Organization, a US-based real-estate developer, and the founder of Trump Entertainment, which operates several casinos. He received a great deal of publicity following the success of his reality television show, The Apprentice (in which he serves as both executive producer and host for the show). He is the son of Fred Trump who was a wealthy real estate developer based in New York City.

Trump has gained notability for his celebrity lifestyle and his real estate successes, including several skyscrapers bearing his name. He is popularly known as The Donald, a nickname given to him by the media after his ex-wife Ivana Trump, a native of the Czech Republic and only marginally fluent in English, mistakenly referred to him as such in an interview. He is also known for his catchphrase, "You're Fired", made popular by his television series The Apprentice. Trump is known for his distinctive trademark hairstyle which he has refused to change throughout his career, his hair has made him the subject of much ridicule from other celebrities and fans as well.


Carl G. Fisher in 1909

Carl Graham Fisher (January 12, 1874 – July 15, 1939) was an American entrepreneur. Despite having severe astigmatism, he became a seemingly tireless pioneer and promoter of the automotive, auto racing, and real estate development industries. Regarded as a promotional genius for most of his life, in the late 19th century, he became a bicycle enthusiast and became involved in bicycle racing and later auto racing. After being injured in stunts, he helped develop paved racetracks and roadways. An Indiana native, Fisher operated what is believed to be the first automobile dealership in the United States and he helped organize the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

In 1913, Fisher conceived and helped develop the Lincoln Highway, the first paved road planned across the entire United States. A convoy trip a few year later by the U.S. Army along Fisher's Lincoln Highway was a major influence upon then Lt. Col. Dwight D. Eisenhower years later in championing the Interstate Highway System during his presidency in the 1950s. Carl Fisher followed the east-west Lincoln Highway in 1914 with the conception of the north-south Dixie Highway, which first led from Indianapolis, and eventually extended in several northern branches from the Mid-West U.S. at the Canadian borders to southern mainland Florida. Under his leadership, the initial portion was completed within a single year, and he led an automobile caravan to Florida from Indiana.