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Florynce "Flo" KennedyThe Life of a Black Feminist Radical$
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Sherie M. Randolph

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469623917

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469623917.001.0001

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Not to Rely Completely on the Courts

Not to Rely Completely on the Courts

Black Feminist Leadership in the Reproductive Rights Battles, 1969–1971

(p.168) 8 Not to Rely Completely on the Courts
Florynce "Flo" Kennedy

Sherie M. Randolph

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines the ways in which Flo Kennedy brought her legal expertise and political knowledge to the campaign to repeal New York State’s restrictive abortion laws. She served as counsel for Abramowicz v. Lefkowitz, the first class-action suit in which women themselves insisted on their right to be heard. Coupling speak-outs and demonstrations with constitutional arguments, the case helped to convince the legislature to amend the law before it was settled in court. The tactics from this case would be used in Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 federal case that legalized abortion nationally. Although by the late 1960s she was one of the country’s best-known black feminists, her role in helping to legalize abortion has long since been forgotten.

Keywords:   Abortion/Abortion laws, New York State, Legal, Abramowicz v. Lefkowitz, Roe v. Wade, Speak-outs, Demonstrations, Black feminist, Legislature, Constitutional arguments

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