Eugenia B. Thomas was the first African American president of the Florida Parent Teacher Association (1988-1990) and is the Embassy Enterprises Hall of Fame Inductee for 2015. We are proud of the child advocacy tenure and accomplishments of Eugenia B. Thomas from the Miami-Dade area of Florida. Eugenia passed away in the summer of 2015 at age 90 after succumbing to alzheimer's and dementia.
The impact Eugenia had on children in the Miami-Dade communities she served was significant and far reaching, so much that in 2001 in Doral Florida, a new multimillion dollar public kindergarten through 8th grade school was named in her honor. Eugenia volunteered thousands and thousands of hours to various child benefitting organization's throughout south Florida. She was a wife to one of the south's first African American judges since the end of the civil war. Eugenia raised two children and was a loving grandmother with seven grandchildren.
Born in the deep south in the Fall of 1924, Eugenia's family moved to south Florida when she was 5. Later that year in October 1929, the stock market crashed signaling the beginning of the Great Depression. This event was catastrophic to her family and millions of other Americans at the time. There was no work to be had and with virtually no social services and programs in place until 1933 when FDR became President, Eugenia's parents were forced to do the unfathomable............the unthinkable.............and every parents darkest fear.............having to give Eugenia and her two siblings up for adoption.
A member of a Miami baptist church and a horticulturist named Mr. Bell took Eugenia in and raised her in the church. Mr. Bell taught Eugenia etiquette, social graces and provided her with an outstanding academic environment where she graduated first in her high school class (Valedictorian) at age 15 before America joined the war in Europe. In June 1940 when Eugenia graduated high school, she was immediately brought on board at the law office of Lawson E. Thomas, one of two practicing African American attorneys working in Miami at the time. This employment enabled the young and ambitious Eugenia the means to attend Florida Memorial University where she flourished in mathematics and walked proudly with cap and gown across the stage to receive her diploma as one of the university's first graduating class (Magna Cum Laude) in 1945 just as the war ended in American victory.
Eugenia continued to work for Lawson Thomas and in 1953, she married him and was his loving and dedicated wife till his death in 1989 at age 91. Eugenia B. Thomas made huge impacts on the lives of children through her direct volunteer hours to the PTA, the United Way and the Black Archives History and Research Foundation of South Florida. Eugenia gave extensively to the Children's Home Society. The Embassy Enterprises Hall of Fame is greatly impressed by the numerous awards Eugenia received in her lifetime for her high achievements impacting the lives of children.
Eugenia, thank you for your service to children. Your advocacy has spanned decades and generations of children in south Florida. Your dedication to making life better for children has not gone unnoticed. Your selfless service has gone way above and beyond the call of duty in setting an example for your children, grandchildren and thousands of others. Your giving continues on with an advocacy fund set up by your son John in your name that serves as a loving tribute continuing your tradition of support, civic engagement and child advocacy. youth 2015 Child Advocacy Hall of Fame