A Woman to Know: Florynce Kennedy

If you're not living on the edge, then you're taking up space. — Florynce

(Image via Harvard)


She always wore a cowboy hat. Sometimes, she even wore it in the courtroom.

As a civil rights lawyer in the 60s and 70s, Flo represented activists, black entertainers, women's lib leaders and more. She worked alongside Gloria Steinem to bridge the gap between black feminists and white feminists, and in 1971, she founded the national Feminist Party. The following year, the party nominated Shirley Chisholm for president -- the first African-American woman to run for highest office.

Flo's influence didn't stop there. She campaigned tirelessly for women's health and reproductive rights, famously telling reporters, "If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament." Her quick tongue and fierce demeanor (and, of course, the cowboy hat) made her an instant icon, winning her fans on the speaker circuit and on her celebrated talk show, "The Florynce Kennedy Show." She remained active in political causes until her death at 84.

"I never stop to wonder why I'm not like other people," she said. "The mystery to me is why more people aren't like me."

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