In 1915, Blanche Armwood worked with three backing partners to establish the Tampa School of Household Arts. Her work would continue with the publication of her Food Conservation in the Home cookbook in 1918. The book saw a great deal of popularity during World War I.
State Level Work
Armwood’s work endeared her to many interested in the progress of Black citizens. While in Tampa, she returned to education as the Harlem Academy School’s assistant principal. Backed by the National Urban League’s Jesse Thomas, she became the Tampa Urban League’s first Executive Secretary in 1922. During her tenure, the league built a playground, a kindergarten, and a daycare center for the city’s Black children.
The 1920s and 1930s saw Blanche Armwood take a number of supervisory roles. In 1925, she established Booker T. Washington School. The school would first be for junior high students but high school students were admitted later. It is the first school of its kind in Tampa.
She served as the first Supervisor of Negro Schools from 1926 to 1934. In a period of eight years, five school buildings were built, old schools got more attention, there were high salaries for Black teachers, and a vocational school for Blacks was established. The school year for Black students also increased from six to nine.
Armwood’s statewide work got her noticed even further. She was brought in as a department head in the National Association of Colored Women for its Home Economics Department. She was also the Republicans’ National Campaign Speaker. Armwood went to Louisiana to serve as State Organizer for NAACP. All of these positions allowed her to do more for Black Americans.
Through a close working relationship with Mary McLeod Bethune, she would assist fundraising for Bethune-Cookman College. She would do the same for numerous Black schools in the U.S. Through her social work, she saw the need for civil rights as a whole.
As a result, she entered Howard Law School in 1934 and graduated in 1938. She holds the distinction as the first Black woman from Florida to graduate from an accredited law school. Blanche Armwood passed away a year later during a speaking tour. She was 49 years old.