Santa Fe Living Treasures â€“ Elder Stories
Honored June, 1995
Coursing through Nancy Kleinbordâ€™s blood was the spirit of social justice, and it was the passion that defined her life. She worked tirelessly for civil rights, freedom of speech, medical care for the poor, womenâ€™s rights, the environment, opposition to war, water and land rights of indigenous communities, disease research, and numerous other causes. Doing such work was as natural to her as breathing, and she did it until she died.
Born on Long Island in New York in 1915, she had a conventional education as a young woman. But her world-view changed when she drove into the American South to visit a friend in the 1930s. She picked up an African-American hitchhiker, and when they stopped at a service station she saw segregated restrooms for the first time in her life. Then as her passenger made his way to the primitive black facility, a white man rudely pushed him off the path. Nancy was horrified, and made a vow to seek social change.