BROOKSVILLE, Florida – Mable Sims was part of the first African American family in Brooksville. Annie Joe was Florida’s first female district attorney. During Founder Week in downtown Brooksville, over 40 exceptional women are recognized for who they were and what they did.
Katya Guillaume from Spectrum Bay News 9 sat down with Beth Ashbrook from Hernando. She walked down the memory trail and said, “She was a strong independent woman, she came from a family of strong independent women.”
Ashbrook spoke about the women she will always look up to – her grandmother, Ms. Bertha Handcock Ashbrook.
“My grandmother would make little bookcases with some kind of handle,” continued Ashbrook. “And she would travel with the books and put them in the front seat of a little Ford coupe that she was driving.”
In the early 1900s she was known as “The Book Lady”. “We come from a family of readers, there have always been a lot of books in our house.”
Their history and that of others who paved the way are displayed to many.
Organizer Natalie Kahler said, “I had a book published in 1976 on the history of Hernando County, and it’s this book as thick as Hernando County history, and not a single woman was on the index . “
Kahler has been looking for them for the past year and a half. “These women’s stories need to be told,” she says, making them visible to anyone walking or downtown to learn a little more about ‘The Book Lady’ and anyone else with a story.
Ashbrook concluded, “When I came here and found her name on the list, my daughter was here, it was Saturday, and we drove all over town to see these because I knew a lot of these people.”