Florynce Rae Kennedy, 84, a flamboyant New York lawyer who fought for civil rights and feminism with a trademark flair, died Dec. 21 at her home here. The cause of death was not reported.
Known simply as Flo and recognized by her cowboy hat and pink sunglasses, Ms. Kennedy fought vigorously for abortion rights, represented Black Panthers and joined feminist icon Gloria Steinem on the lecture circuit.
She was born the second of five daughters in Kansas City, Mo. Her father was a Pullman porter who with a shotgun once drove members of the Ku Klux Klan off his land.
After high school, Ms. Kennedy helped organize a boycott against a local Coca-Cola bottler who refused to hire black truck drivers.
She then moved to New York with a sister and, ignoring pleas to become a teacher, took pre-law courses at Columbia University. Her application to its law school was refused, not because of race, administrators said, but because of gender. After threatening to sue, she was admitted. She graduated in 1951.
Ms. Kennedy practiced law after graduation, but she soon grew dissatisfied with the profession and turned to political activism, establishing the Media Workshop in 1966 to fight racism in journalism and advertising.
The same year, she represented civil rights leader H. Rap Brown. Two years later, she filed a complaint against the Roman Catholic Church because of what she viewed as its interference with abortion. In 1969, she organized feminist lawyers to challenge New York State's abortion law, an action credited with helping influence the state legislature to liberalize abortion laws the next year.
Through the 1970s, she joined Steinem on the lecture circuit, sharing her views on feminism and civil rights for about $3,500 an appearance.
In 1974, People magazine called Ms. Kennedy "the biggest, loudest and, indisputably, the rudest mouth on the battleground where feminist activists and radical politics join in mostly common cause."
In 1976, her autobiography, "Color Me Flo: My Hard Life and Good Times," was published.
Survivors include three sisters.