Merging the Civil Rights and Women’s Rights movements, the vivacious, cause-driven activist and lawyer Florynce “Flo” Kennedy brought new meaning to intersectional feminism, embodying genuine inclusion like no one before her. Known for her incendiary wit and eccentric style, she was typically seen in her signature cowboy hats, playful peace sign earrings, and statement sunglasses as she spoke out against the discrimination and mistreatment of marginalized communities with a backbone that defied convention. Ahead of the late activist’s birthday this week, L’OFFICIEL looks back on the unsung feminist hero’s significant contributions to social justice.
As one of the first Black women to graduate from Columbia Law School in 1951, she didn’t get there without a fight. When she was initially refused admission by the university, she was assured that it was not due to her race, but to her gender. After threatening to sue, she was accepted and went on to be one of a mere eight women in her graduating class, and the only Black woman. She once wrote on the subject, “I find that the higher you aim, the better you shoot.”