because the woman's place is wherever the woman is...

Monday, May 21, 2012

Florynce Kennedy

Florynce Kennedy started thinking like an in-your-face woman lawyer even before she studied law. She had just graduated with a Bachelor's Degree from Columbia University and decided to apply to their law school.  Unfortunately (for them), they refused to admit her and told her it because she was a woman. So Kennedy threatened to sue them for violating her civil rights.  Once admitted (which, of course, she then was) she soon became known as "the biggest, loudest and, indisputably, the rudest mouth on the battleground," which is what People Magazine eventually wrote about her.

After she became a lawyer, Kennedy missed no opportunity to push every envelope she could related to either race or gender.  She was too radical for the National Organization for Women, helped to nominate Shirley Chisholm for U.S. President, and once organized a mass outdoor "pee-in" to protest the lack of women's bathrooms on the Harvard University campus.  And she took on every kind of uphill legal struggle, representing clients such as H. "Rap" Brown and the Black Panther Party and suing the Catholic Church for back taxes because she claimed its anti-choice stance on abortion violated the separation of church and state clause in the U.S. Constitution.

Given to wearing cowboy hats and pink sunglasses, Kennedy was quoted as saying, "I'm just a loud-mouthed middle-aged colored lady with a fused spine and three feet of intestines missing and a lot of people think I'm crazy. Maybe you do too, but I never stop to wonder why I'm not like other people. The mystery to me is why more people aren't like me." Indeed.

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