Queen of the Bolsheviks: The Hidden History of Dr. Marie Equi by Nancy Krieger
Now forgotten, Dr. Marie Equi was a physician for working-class women and children, a lesbian, and a dynamic and flamboyant political activist, active first in the women’s suffrage movement and the Progressive Party, and later alongside the IWW.
Spanning the period from the consolidation of northern industrial capitalism to the emergence of the U.S. as the dominant imperialist power, Equi’s life serves as a chronicle of her times and illuminates how one person was affected by and sought to change world events.
A little while back a friend sent me a link to the wikipedia page about Equi and from there i learned about this essay by Nancy Krieger, which appeared in the September-October 1983 issue opf Radical America. Luckily, the Center for Digital Initiatives at Brown University has scanned in all issues of Radical America (including this one), and so with the kind permission of Dr Krieger i have turned her groundbreaking text into a pamphlet.
Thrilled by the militancy of the IWW, its commitment to organizing the unorganized, and its recognition—as stated in its preamble—of the “historic mission of the working class to do away with capitalism,” Equi underwent a profound change. She began to perceive the present as history, to see history and politics as the expression of class conflict, and to realize that with this understanding one can change history. Accordingly, Equi entered a period where her life became inextricably bound with the history and politics of her times.
We owe a debt of gratitude to Nancy Krieger for sharing this important chapter of herstory with us.