Significant Contemporary American Feminists: A Biographical Sourcebook

By Jennifer Scanlon | Go to book overview

FLORYNCE KENNEDY
(1916-)

Cheryl Rodriguez

With complex and diverse perspectives on race, social class, abortion, and sexuality, black women presented unique challenges and new dimensions to feminist politics in the 1970s. Some black women joined predominantly white feminist organizations, demanding inclusion and visibility on these agendas. Some black women, in coalition with other women of color, created separate feminist organizations through which they addressed the interconnectedness of gender, race, class, and sexuality. Marching to her own offbeat tune, Florynce Kennedy pursued both of these political paths and became one of the most audacious and unrelenting feminist activists of the twentieth century. Her work as an attorney, writer, public speaker, black feminist, activist for human rights, and selfproclaimed outside agitator spans several decades and is a testament to the power of commitment.

Florynce Rae "Flo" Kennedy was born on February 11, 1916, in Kansas City, Missouri. The second of five daughters born to Wiley and Zella Kennedy, she spent her childhood years in Missouri and California. Kennedy's unabashed sense of self, her activist spirit, and sense of commitment to oppressed people were inspired by her parents, who struggled to raise their daughters during the Jim Crow era, a time of vicious and socially sanctioned racism. From her mother, who was formally educated at a time when few blacks had educational opportunities, Flo Kennedy learned to demand the extraordinary from life. From her father, who had stared down Ku Klux Klan members at his own front door, she learned to take outrageous risks in the name of human rights. In her autobiography, Color Me Flo: My Hard Life and Good Times, Kennedy describes her parents as gentle people who were never extremely authoritative and did not impose harsh restrictions on their daughters. Rather, the Kennedys instilled confidence in Flo and her sisters and convinced them that they were special. Kennedy said that "my parents gave us a fantastic sense of security and worth. By the time the

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Significant Contemporary American Feminists: A Biographical Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Editorial Board ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Bella Abzug (1920-1998) 1
  • Paula Gunn Allen (1939-) 8
  • Gloria AnzaldÚa (1942-) 14
  • Frances Beale (1940-) 22
  • Rita Mae Brown (1944-) 28
  • Charlotte Bunch (1944-) 36
  • Pat Califia (1954-) 44
  • Judy Chicago (1939-) 51
  • Shirley Chisholm (1924-) 55
  • Esther Ngan-Ling Chow (1943-) 60
  • Pearl Cleage (1948-) 66
  • Kate Clinton (1945- ) 73
  • Mary Daly (1928- ) 79
  • Angela Davis (1944-) 86
  • Shulamith Firestone (1945-) 98
  • Jo Freeman (1945-) 104
  • Betty Friedan (1921-) 111
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-) 118
  • Bell Hooks (1952- ) 125
  • Dolores Huerta (1930-) 133
  • June Jordan (1936-) 138
  • Evelyn Fox Keller (1936-) 145
  • Florynce Kennedy (1916-) 150
  • Audre Lorde (1934-1992) 156
  • Catharine Mackinnon (1946-) 163
  • Olga Madar (1915-1996) 174
  • Wilma Mankiller (1945-) 181
  • Del Martin (1921-) 188
  • Kate Millett (1934- ) 194
  • CherrÍe Moraga (1952- ) 201
  • Robin Morgan (1941-) 206
  • Pauli Murray (1910-1985) 213
  • Eleanor Holmes Norton (1937-) 218
  • Alice Paul (1885-1977) 223
  • Anna Quindlen (1952-) 231
  • Adrienne Rich (1929-) 238
  • Faith Ringgold (1930-) 245
  • Rosemary Ruether (1936-) 251
  • Joanna Russ (1937-) 257
  • Patricia Schroeder (1940-) 264
  • Eleanor Smeal (1939-) 271
  • Barbara Smith (1946-) 279
  • Gloria Steinem (1934-) 283
  • Margo St. James (1937-) 290
  • Alice Walker (1944- ) 297
  • Rebecca Walker (1969-) 305
  • Michele Wallace (1952-) 311
  • Sarah Weddington (1945-) 317
  • Ellen Willis (1941-) 327
  • Selected Bibliography 335
  • Index 341
  • About the Editor and Contributors 355
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