A state senator wants to honor the memory of a woman who broke many color barriers in Tampa Bay.

  • St. Pete hwy to be renamed after 1st black female lawyer in Pinellas
  • FL Senator proposed to rename portion of I-375 after C. Bette Wimbish
  • Wimbish was 1st black female lawyer in Pinellas, 1st black St. Pete council member

C. Bette Wimbish was the first black female lawyer in Pinellas County and third in the state. She was also the first black St. Pete City Council member.

Wimbish pushed for change and worked to desegregate schools and fighting for equality.

To honor her memory, State Senator Darryl Rousson wants to rename a portion of I-375 after Bette Wimbish. He said she helped paved the way to make St. Petersburg what it is today, and he can’t think of a better way to honor her than placing her name on the road that takes you downtown.

During her 88 years of life, C. Bette Wimbish experienced a lot of “firsts.”

“The first black female lawyer to practice law in St. Petersburg, the first black elected to office in St. Petersburg on city council. She became vice mayor and her contributions to the community throughout her lifetime and to the state have boon prolific,” Rousson said.

Out of all her accomplishments, her family knew her simply as Bette.

“To me, she was kind of a quiet person. She loved to fish, she loved to have family over and cook for us. She loved going to FAMU football games,” Dr. Jennifer E. Perry Griffin, Bette’s granddaughter, said.

Jennifer said her grandmother, who didn’t want to be called grandma, so she called her Bette, instilled her work ethic and the importance of education on the entire family.

As a young woman, Jennifer learned what a powerful woman Bette was and aimed to follow in her footsteps.

Today, she is honored that Representative Rousson has proposed renaming the northbound on ramp of I-375 to the C. Bette Wimbish Highway. And she said her grandmother would have been too.

However, Jennifer said if Bette were alive today, it’s not the recognition that she would be excited about, it would be the opportunity to create even more change.

“If she heard about this event here, she would probably take the opportunity to call attention to things that were wrong and what she thought could be done about them,” Perry-Griffin said.

The senate already passed the bill to rename the highway and the city council gave the final approval Thursday morning.