Florynce Rae Kennedy

If you found a cause for the downtrodden or somebody abused someplace, by God, Flo Kennedy would be there, said former New York City Mayor David Dinkins on learning that longtime feminist and civil rights activist Florynce Kennedy had died. For nearly 50 years, until the end on December 21, 2000, Flo was the quintessential activist, using her knowledge of law and the media to rabble-rouse in the courts and the streets. Moments after Flo strode into a room in her signature boots and cowboy hat, there would be committees formed and street actions planned. In 1974, People magazine called her “the biggest, loudest and, indisputably, the rudest mouth on the battleground where feminist activists and radical politics join.” All true, but also typical of the way the media depicted Flo, focussing on the image as much as–or more than–the politics. But the politics had a profound impact: she cofounded the Feminist party and led a campaign against the television networks that many credit with diversifying prime-time TV. Her fearlessness and irreverance will be missed.

Flo Kennedy marching with Gloria Steinem

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