The items in this online exhibition evoke the stories of American women through the ages.
Start your exploration with these 32 objects. We will share more as our anniversary year unfolds.
Click on any image to begin.

Flo Kennedy’s brown suede cowboy hat, and a photo of her wearing it, ca. 1974

  Photos by Kevin Grady/Radcliffe Institute

Photos by Kevin Grady/Radcliffe Institute


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, media-savvy, and dubbed “radicalism’s rudest mouth” by the press, Kennedy fought for civil, women’s, and abortion rights and gained 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, Schlesinger Library

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Learn more about Flo Kennedy.

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Heather Min