Ware, Flo (1912-1981)

  • By Mary Henry
  • Posted 5/18/1999
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 1145
Florasina Ware was the quintessential activist, known in Seattle for raising a strong and logical voice on behalf of children, the elderly, and the poor.

Flo Ware (the name by which she was known) was born in Fort Worth, Texas, on December 7, 1912. She moved about with her family in a specially equipped railroad car provided by the company for which her father worked. Until high school she never went to the same school for more than a few months. She attended college for a short time, married, and moved to Tacoma.

She moved to Seattle in 1947 and in the early 1950s, dissatisfied with the quality of Central Area schools, decided to press school officials to work harder for improvements. She was arrested once for passing out leaflets in front of Horace Mann Elementary School. She continually agitated in a calm, positive manner for academic improvement in the Central Area public schools, for quality health care for the aged, and for more employment opportunities for the poor.

For the Children, For the Old

Flo Ware was known to be a very secure person with little interest in material possessions, but her concern for the less fortunate caused her to spend countless hours on their behalf. She represented Seattle in numerous national conferences on programs from Head Start to projects in support of the aged. She served on innumerable national and local boards and received more than 75 awards for her community work.

She was an organizer of the Central Area School Board and the Foster Parent Association. She spearheaded the Meals on Wheels Program for the elderly and from 1968 to 1979 had a radio talk show on KRAB.

A Mother to Many Children

In addition to these community and national activities, she raised 20 foster children. She was a mainstay on the Seattle King County Economic Opportunity Board during the War on Poverty years.

Florasina Ware died on March 17, 1981. She is buried at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery. After her death, there was an outpouring of feeling from the Central Area community that she be memorialized. In 1982, the tiny urban park on the southeast corner of 28th Avenue S and South Jackson Street was named in her honor.

 


Sources: Mary T. Henry. Tribute: Seattle Public Places Named for Black People (Seattle: Statice Press, 1997), 26, 27.

Related Topics:   Biographies | Black Americans | Education | Labor | Media | Women's History

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