Florida Evans – Good Times
Florida Evans is of the “do what I say, or else” variety of mom. She suffers no excuses, nonsense or back talk. Even in a traditionally gendered home in the 1970’s, she was clearly the boss of that household. She would demure to her husband, James, when she thought it would further her own purposes, but Good Times fans know who the real authority was.
Florida is the hardest working mother on this list. Not only did she have to work outside the home, mostly as domestic help for Maude and the Bunkers, but she strove tirelessly to protect her kids and teach them how to do the right thing.
The Evans’ circumstances often made it hard to “keep their heads above water” because they lived in a lower-socioeconomic area of South Chicago and tragically lost their dad. As a result, Florida had to not only fight the normal hardships of raising children, but she had to do it through an extreme grief and as the only breadwinner.
As one of the only depictions of black motherhood on television at the time, Florida showed a very different type of mom, one that seemed very foreign compared to the Shirley Partridges, the Samantha Stevens, the Carol Bradys of the time.
Not only did Florida offer a brief moment of inclusion to a huge swath of the American television viewership, but she kicked down the door for the Claire Huxtables, the Rainbow Johnsons, and the Nell Harpers of the next few decades.