Best Local Girl Gone To Heaven - 2007
M. Athalie Range
Mary Athalie Range started out as a typical Miami transplant, but her decades of civic activism and public service became one of the city's great stories. In the late Forties, conditions at her children's Liberty City school jump-started the activist in Range. Her successful work in the PTA opened doors that eventually led to her becoming the first African-American woman to sit on the Miami City Commission. There she fought hard to correct the injustices that had long made life difficult for African Americans and other minority groups. By 1971 she had proven her effectiveness so thoroughly that then-Gov. Rubin Askew appointed her the secretary of the Department of Community Affairs for the State of Florida. When she passed away this past November at age 91, she was still active as the chair of the Virginia Key Beach Park Trust, and busy with restoration of the historic black sections of Virginia Key. She earned many citations for her public work, but she was also successful in the private sector as director of Range Funeral Homes, which still operate today. Thank you, Commissioner Range.