Sometimes you win and today, we won one for Coconut Grove legend, Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
Six hours ago, President Obama visited South Florida's Everglades National Park. In his Earth Day speech he announced that the Park Service will designate Ms. Douglas' South Grove cottage as a national historic landmark.
This is great news. Her former Coconut Grove home (3744 Stewart Avenue) has been ignored for years.The feisty writer led the Save the Everglades movement during her long lifetime. The President's speech delighted everyone who cares about the South Florida's environment, historic preservation and Ms. Douglas' legacy.
The journalist/ environmentalist/ feminist died in 1998 at the age of 109. She left her house to the State of Florida so it could be used to carry on her work. Unfortunately, our Tallahassee leaders did nothing, leaving it unmarked and unloved. Eight years ago they began allowing a park ranger to live there.
Marjory's friends have spent almost two decades trying to preserve the house and open it to the public. Ten years ago the state and some angry neighbors tried to have it cut up and moved south to Fairchild Gardens.
What an awful idea that was.
We stopped it with vigorous protests led by the "Marching Marjorys". 25 of us, dressed as our big-hatted environmental saint, raised hell in that year's King Mango Strut parade.
Then there was nothing...one long dreary decade until today. I am thrilled and hope you are too. Marjory deserves this and much more.
Thank you Mr. President, for coming to South Florida. Your visit shines much-needed light on the world's environmental issues, our depleted Everglades, and the Grove's forgotten treasure on Stewart Avenue.
I just contacted all of the Marching Marjory's (including our three sons) to share the good news.
We're ready to march for you anytime.