Selected for the cover of the first edition of this book is the incredible Yolande Betbeze (ne Fox) who may be most well known for her association with baseball great Joe Dimaggio, her marriage to movie tycoon Matthew Fox until his death, her activism in the 1960s, and for taking the Miss America crown in 1950. While not exactly a British housewife with “island blood,” the publisher felt that this woman’s indomitable spirit strongly represented the fictional character of Charity.
Excerpt from her official Miss America bio: “Always courageous and sometimes controversial, Yolande has always been ahead of her time, tackling tough issues and making a stand before the issues at hand were fashionable.”
Born in 1929 to William and Ethel of Mobile, Alabama, Yolande was raised in a strict Catholic family with Basque origins and was educated in a convent school. In 1950 shortly after her twentieth birthday, Betbeze traveled to Atlantic City, New Jersey, to compete in the Miss America pageant. Beyond her beauty and her operatic musical talent, Yolande handily took top honors for her scholarship, values, and leadership.
After winning the competition, she made no secret of her reluctance to don what she considered a very immodest swimsuit (tame by modern standards), and her refusal caused Catalina swimwear to withdraw their sponsorship from the pageant. To this day, the Miss America Organization claims that her actions were pivotal in directing the Miss America Pageant toward recognizing intellect, values, and leadership abilities, rather than focusing on beauty alone. From then on, the Miss America pageant concentrated more on scholarship than beauty. Since there was no Miss America in 1950, Betbeze became the reigning Miss America in 1951.
After her year as Miss America, Yolande served as an ambassador to postwar Paris, France, and was active in both the NAACP and CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) upon her return to the United States. She never lost her love for opera, even appearing with the Mobile Opera Guild (the Mobile Opera today), and helped found an off-Broadway theater.
Find Yolande Betbeze Fox on the cover of Charity’s Code, part 3 of the Virtues and Valor series.
DORTHY EWING works on the home-front, receiving and sending messages to her team in France and coordinating a secret mission. She receives and sends messages to her team in France and coordinates a secret mission with her husband via coded letters. She intercepts the transmission from TEMPERANCE alerting to her blown cover. The clock is ticking in a race to save Temperance's life.
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