Florynce Kennedy's hat

Courtesy of Schlesinger Library

The feminist, activist, and self-described badass, Florynce Kennedy (1916–2000) graduated from Columbia Law School in 1951, the only African American woman in the class. After a few years of practicing law—during which she represented the estates of the jazz legends Billie Holiday and Charlie Parker and defended members of the Black Panther Party—Kennedy became a full-time activist. Flamboyant and media savvy, dubbed “radicalism’s rudest mouth” by the press, Kennedy fought for civil, women’s, and abortion rights and generated notoriety while protesting the Miss America Pageant and organizing a “pee-in” in Harvard Yard to protest the lack of toilets for women.

Kennedy was often photographed wearing one of her famous cowboy hats, a signature look for an iconic personality.

Florynce Kennedy Papers

Florynce Kennedy's hat