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