Top Caribbean Power Women: Leaders in Politics, Music, and More

Exemplary females with roots in the Islands

FREDERICA WILSON
Country: Bahamas
Claim to Fame: U.S Congresswoman — Florida

Congresswoman Wilson earned a BS in elementary education from Fisk University in 1963 and a Masters from the University of Miami in 1972.  After graduating, she served as a teacher and as assistant educational coordinator for Head Start in Miami and later, as Assistant Principal and Principal of Skyway Elementary School. As a member of the Miami-Dade County School Board, she acted to positively intervene in the lives of at-risk male youth. In 1993, she founded the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project. Since its inception, 5000 Role Models has awarded more than $5 million in scholarships to minority boys and helped thousands of young men.

In 1998, Congresswoman Wilson successfully ran for the 104th District in the Florida House of Representatives, where she served as Minority Whip until 2002. While serving in the Florida legislature, she succeeded in working with Republican Governor Jeb Bush to remove the Confederate flag from the State Capitol; mandating HIV/AIDS testing for newly-released prisoners; opposing high-stakes standardized testing; pushing for a ban of the term “illegal alien” in state public records; and partnering with Republican Governor Charlie Crist to restore voting rights for ex-felons.

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