Lessons in Black History – Florynce “Flo” Kennedy

Florynce “Flo” Kennedy – Flo Kennedy was born in Kansas City in 1916, and moved to New York City after she graduated high school. After graduating Columbia University in 1948, she applied to the Columbia Law School, but was rejected because she was a woman. After threatening a lawsuit on the grounds of racial discrimination, she was accepted to Columbia, where she became the first African-American woman to graduate from the prestigious law school.

In 1954, Kennedy opened her own law office, but by the end of the decade she had grown cynical and doubted the law profession. By the 1960s, she had became increasingly active politically, championing Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, and the rights of all those oppressed. She was a co-founder of the National Organization of Women and the Women’s Political Caucus, and the founder of the Feminist Party, which nominated Shirley Chisholm for President of the United States. Her career and life were both defined by her audacious spirit, her commitment to justice and her flamboyant style. She was once 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.”

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