She was the first black woman to run for city commissioner in Miami. As the Secretary of the Department of Community Affairs, she was first woman ever to head a state agency in Florida. And she was one of the first black people in Florida to back Jimmy Carter’s run for the presidency, introducing many black communities in Florida to Carter before he announced his candidacy.
Born in Key West in 1915, Range was the granddaughter of Bahamian immigrants. She and her husband Oscar ran the Range Funeral Home together in Liberty City, where they had three children. When her husband died unexpectedly of a heart attack in 1960, Range became certified as funeral director and operated the business on her own.
Florida's 37th Governor Reubin Askew walks with Range in Tallahassee, Florida. Range was named Secretary of the State Department of Community Affairs by Governor-Elect Askew. She was the first African-American woman to head a major agency for the state in modern times.
Range was a pioneer for the education system in Florida. While serving as the president of the Parent Teacher Association for Liberty City Elementary, she led 125 black parents to the school board with a list of demands for school improvements. This led to the construction of a new building—the first school built for black children in 21 years.
Range was also involved in the preservation of coastal lands. She helped to establish Virginia Key Beach Park, which was the only public beach in Dade County open to the black community at the time. She died while in Miami in 2006 at the age of 91.
When Hurricane Andrew tore through Florida in August 1992, Congresswoman Carrie Meek fought for the people of her district. Meek represented communities in the Miami suburbs of Dade County, which includes the rural town of Homestead.