Florida Matters Newsmaker: Dr. Susan MacManus and Florida's Minority Trailblazers

Jun 6, 2017

She’s one of the most sought-after political analysts in Florida and the nation, and she has a new book out, "Florida's Minority Trailblazers: The Men and Women Who Changed the Face of Florida Government.” Our latest Florida Matters “Newsmaker” is University of South Florida political science professor Dr. Susan MacManus.


MacManus is a Distinguished Professor of Public Administration and Political Science at USF. Her latest book, "Florida's Minority Trailblazers," covers about 50 political figures who broke barriers of race, ethnicity and gender in a variety of branches of government.

This week on Florida Matters, we talk with Dr. MacManus to learn more about her career and what inspired her to write the book. Then we dive into some of the trailblazers, including, among others:

  • Betty Mae Tiger Jumper, the first and so far only female chair of the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
  • U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the first Hispanic woman elected to Congress and the first Hispanic woman elected to the Florida Legislature.
  • Edmund “Eddie” Gong, the first Asian American elected to the Florida Legislature.
  • Jessie J. McCrary Jr., the first black member of the Florida Cabinet, the first black lawyer from Florida to argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court and the first black member of the Florida Supreme Court.
  • U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, the first Hispanic Speaker of the House in Florida.

“Florida’s Minority Trailblazers: The Men and Women Who Changed the Face of Florida Government” is published by University Press of Florida