Local Hero

M. Athalie Range

I grew up in Miami when the struggle for civil rights was first cresting in the 1960s and 1970s. One name became quite well known as a relentless local champion for equity: M. Athalie Range.

Ms. Range was a Bahamian American civil rights activist and politician who was the first African-American to serve on the Miami City Commission. Later, Governor Reubin Askew selected her to be the first African-American since Reconstruction and the first woman to head a Florida state agency, the Department of Community Affairs. She also served as a federal official during the Carter administration.

“While on the [City of Miami] commission, Range sought to have garbage collection improved in black neighborhoods, which sometimes went three weeks between garbage pickups, while white neighborhoods got twice a week pickups. After a vote on her proposed ordinance to equalize garbage service was twice postponed, Range had her neighbors bring bags of garbage to the commission meeting and dump them on the commissioners’ desks. After that, the ordinance was passed.” -from Wikipedia.

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