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Tallahassee mural honors Betty Mae Jumper

The “Project Daring” mural in Tallahassee depicts, from left, author Zora Neale Hurston, Betty Mae Jumper – the Seminole Tribe’s first chairwoman – and environmentalist Marjorie Harris Carr. (Photo courtesy Amanda Leighty)

Betty Mae Jumper, author Zora Neale Hurston and environmentalist Marjorie Harris Carr, all inductees in the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame, have been honored with a large mural in Tallahassee titled “Project Daring.”

The Junior League of Tallahassee wanted to celebrate its 60th anniversary by celebrating female trailblazers, so it commissioned the mural and unveiled it Aug. 27. Artists Savannah Salinas and Olivia Barattini created the larger-than-life artwork on the side of a formerly graffiti-covered downtown building.

“I’m glad she has the honor of being in that mural,” said Betty Mae Jumper’s son Moses Jumper Jr. “I’m pretty proud that she is still getting awards and people are still remembering her.”

Betty Mae Jumper (file photo)

Betty Mae Jumper’s life was filled with accomplishments. She was the first chairwoman of the Seminole Tribe, started the tribe’s first newspaper, was a founder of United South and Eastern Tribes, became a nurse and brought modern medicine to the tribe, was appointed to the National Congress of Indian Opportunity by President Richard Nixon, earned a lifetime achievement award from the Native American Journalists Association, received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Florida State University and was named one of USA Today’s “100 Florida Women of the Century.” After working for 40 years to improve health care for the tribe, it is a fitting tribute that the medical center in Hollywood is named for her.

She died in 2011.

Hurston wrote folk fiction novels about the Black South and Carr was an environmentalist and founder of the Florida Defenders of the Environment.

“This mural is a visual celebration of three trailblazing women who made a tremendous impact on our state,” said Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey during the unveiling ceremony.

The theme of “Project Daring” was women in Florida’s history. The artists chose the three notable and accomplished women.

“The Junior League of Tallahassee is proud to be a part of the Project Daring Mural in Florida’s capital city. The mural celebrates female trailblazers we admire and respect while invoking a call to make the world a better place,” said Katie Britt Williams, president of the Junior League of Tallahassee. “Our hope is for the citizens of Florida and Tallahassee to enjoy this mural for years to come.”

The mural spans 45 feet by 60 feet across the side of a building built in 1938 that is now the Century Link building, located at the intersection of Calhoun Street and Park Avenue.

The Junior League of Tallahassee held a ceremony Aug. 27, 2021, to celebrate the mural. (Photo via Junior League of Tallahassee/Facebook)
Beverly Bidney
Beverly Bidney has been a reporter and photographer for The Seminole Tribune since 2012. During her career, she has worked at various newspapers around the country including the Muskogee Phoenix in Oklahoma, Miami Herald, Associated Press, USA Today and other publications nationwide. A NAJA award winning journalist, she has covered just about everything over the years and is an advocate for a strong press. Contact her at