A First Encounter – Annie Douglass Broward

My great grandmother, Annie Douglass Broward, was the driving force behind the more than century old legacy of her husband, my great grandfather and Florida Governor, Napoleon Bonaparte Broward (1905-1909).  At the University of Florida (1970-1974), I first encountered Broward Hall.

I had heard there was a women’s dormitory at my new college named for my great grandmother, and I was curious to go see it – though I was assigned to a male/female dormitory across the campus.  There was a small plaque on the entrance to the dorm placed there in 1953, a year after I was born, dedicating the building to Annie Douglass Broward.  I walked into the small study area and library across the lobby and stood under a portrait painted by her daughter, my great aunt, Agnes Broward Craig. 

In my 20’s I had dreams of my own and felt no real connection to the woman in the painting, but as my life twisted and turned into a fight for women’s rights in the time after the modern civil rights movement, I kept the image of the stranger in the painting in my heart.

In the past decade, as my life hurried toward sixty, I became determined to tell her story and the stories of the 8 daughters – and finally a son – whose lives and accomplishments amplified her own achievements.  Her legacy grows decade by decade as her descendants shape and lead in many disciplines guided by the values passed down from Annie.

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