As a child, she watched her father fend off a KKK mob with a shotgun. As a teen, she led an effort to force Coca-Cola to hire Blacks. As an adult, she threatened to sue Columbia Law School for sexism in admissions.
After getting her law degree, she didn’t stop there.
Kennedy defended activists like H. Rap Brown in court, and represented the estates of jazz legends like Billie Holiday.
After a successful corporate boycott, though, she remarked, “When you want to get to the suites, start in the streets.” Afterward she committed herself to direct activism.
Her flamboyant style and provocative beliefs made her a powerful, and controversial, force.
Her causes included campaigns to end racist stereotypes in media, legalizing abortion, a “pee-in” protest at Harvard, and the founding of the Feminist Party, which in 1971 nominated Shirley Chisholm for President!
Kennedy was uncompromising, never giving in to society’s pressures of being Black or a woman, and utilized her entire life to fight for liberation. We can all be inspired by her example of living her life to the fullest.
“If you're not living on the edge,” she once said, “...you're taking up space!"