6 Unsung Heroes In Black Women History

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Florynce “Flo” Kennedy

Denver Post Archives

Source: Denver Post / Getty


Flo Kennedy (1916-2000) was an African American lawyer, feminist and civil rights activist. She was a key figure in the women’s liberation movement and played a significant role in the fight for abortion rights, racial justice and LGBTQ rights.

Donning her signature cowboy hat, Kennedy spent decades of her career fighting for equality. In 1942, the passionate activist moved from her hometown in Kansas City to New York after she applied to Columbia Law School. Initially, her application was rejected, but Kennedy wouldn’t take no for an answer. The Missouri native later discovered that her application was denied because she was a woman. She was accepted to the revered law school after she threatened to file a lawsuit, according to CNN. Kennedy was one of eight women and the only Black student in her class.

In 1969, the activist made history after she and three other lawyers challenged the constitutionality of New York’s ban on abortion in federal court. Some historians say she played a critical role in helping to decriminalize abortion in the state.

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