Florence Kennedy was the first black feminist I saw in public and in action. Lawyer, protester, organizer, she was born in 1916, the same year as my mother–and four years before women of any color got the vote. . . . She was tall and fabulously grandstanding. She’d planted herself and thrived in every movement that counted: civil rights, anti-war, black power, feminism, gay rights. Her principles never swerved; her tactics never staled. She used to say something like this:

When black women tell me feminism is a white woman’s thing, I tell them: you’ve spent all these years, all these centuries, imitating every bad idea white women came up with–about their hair, their makeup, their clothes, their duties to their men. And now, they finally come up with one good idea – feminism–and you decide you don’t want anything to do with it!

  • Negroland a memoir by Margo Jefferson

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