Roxcy Bolton, Dade's First Feminist, Is Dead

She was a hero.

Roxcy Bolton, a daughter of the South who fought harder and earlier for women's rights than anyone else in Florida, died early Wednesday morning. She was 90 years old.

Bolton opened the rape treatment center at Jackson Memorial Hospital that bears her name. She helped introduce the Equal Rights Amendment in Congress (though it still hasn't passed). She fought a local Playboy Club, saying women shouldn't have to wear cotton bunny tails on their rear ends, and she removed "obey" from her wedding vows.

Yes, Bolton was a hero.

When I covered county government decades ago for the Miami Herald, Bolton was continuing a fight she began when she and several others took over the office of University of Miami President Henry King Stanton in the early '70s.

"Women are underrepresented," she would crow back in the days when there were nine commissioners and only one, Barbara Carey-Shuler, was a woman. "Look at the county leaders." In fact, the county manager and most of the assistant managers were men. So Bolton helped found the Dade Commission on the Status of Women. And, indeed, many Bolton acolytes have been elected to top local positions.

Many women have given Bolton props over the years. The blog Women in Florida History points out she "gained access for women to the previously all-male lunchrooms at Burdines and Jordan Marsh department stores" and "helped end the practice of naming hurricanes only for women."

Here's to Roxcy Bolton. She was a hero.
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Chuck Strouse is the former editor in chief of Miami New Times. He has shared two Pulitzer Prizes and won dozens of other awards. He is an honors graduate of Brown University and has worked at newspapers including the Miami Herald and Los Angeles Times.
Contact: Chuck Strouse