Lynne Stewart

Photo of Lynne Stewart from 2015

Lynne Stewart, a radical lawyer who became a political prisoner, died on March 7 in Brooklyn, NY.

She was 77. She had been released from prison in 2014 because she had terminal cancer. Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio, a close friend of Lynne’s, wrote this tribute.

“This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”

– Frederick Douglas

On Thursday, sitting with Ralph, Ginny, and Don, Lynne – barely able to talk – said to me, “Don’t cry”.

Our memories of Lynne include her blue ribbon apple, blueberry, and rhubarb pie- just ask me and her grandkids.

Way back before she went to prison in 2002, we sat recording a piece at Prison Radio. I had her read a William O Douglas quote. She looked at me, winked and smiled. She said, “You know Noelle, he is not Irish”. I turned bright red and just about bust a gut laughing. Being 100% Irish, I assumed William O. Douglas was Irish.

One night, we were having dinner at my house in San Francisco, and I said I would bring strawberries and whipped cream to the table. Some time later, Lynne yells upstairs, “Tell Noelle she isn’t going to be able to whip the cream, the person she sent out to get it brought back half and half.”

Lynne Stewart had a number of amazing qualities- she was a compass for the truth with a bitter wit that could cut to the quick. She, like Judi Bari, was a woman unwilling to suffer fools.

She put a bright white hot spotlight on justice.

Under indictment, she spoke out for political prisoners. While appealing her sentence, she spoke out for Mumia.

Her example is courageous. She followed in the tradition of John Brown and Marilyn Buck. She believed in the humanity and the promise of freedom for all, and she fought every single day to make sure that our political prisoners were represented.

A slogan that Lynne knew and practiced better than anyone:

Cuando luchamos ganamos, When We Fight, We Win

Noelle Hanrahan, Director, Prison Radio



Author: lagai

LAGAI-Queer Insurrection is one of the oldest radical queer liberation groups in the U.S. We publish UltraViolet, a more or less bimonthly newspaper, which is mailed free of charge to over 1500 people, including over 800 prisoners. Our website is

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