Kathy Boudin, 1960s Weather Underground Radical, Dies at Age 78

Kathy Boudin, a former member of the militant leftist group Weather Underground who spent years in prison for her involvement in a deadly robbery, died on May 1 at the age of 78.

Columbia University’s Center for Justice, which Boudin co-founded and co-directed, announced that she died “after a seven-year fight with cancer.”

Boudin graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1965 and “was soon radicalized by the growing anti-war and racial justice movements of the 60s, beginning her lifelong work as an activist, organizer, teacher, and champion of social justice,” the Center said.

In an attempt to raise money for Black revolutionary organizations, Boudin and her partner David Gilbert participated in the robbery of a Brink’s truck in Nyack, New York on Oct. 20, 1981.

Boudin and Gilbert were not armed, but three men were killed in the robbery.

Boudin pleaded guilty to a single felony charge and received a sentence of 20 years to life in prison. Meanwhile, Gilbert received 75 years to life in prison.

Boudin was released in 2003 after serving 22 years while Gilbert was granted parole and was released from prison in 2021.

Boudin was the first woman to earn a master’s degree while incarcerated in New York State Prison, according to the Center.

After her release, Boudin earned a doctorate from Columbia University Teachers College in 2007, taught at the Columbia School of Social Work, and co-founded and co-directed the Center for Justice.

“Kathy’s legacy, mission, and lifetime commitment to advancing social justice, supporting disadvantaged communities and reforming the criminal legal system will never be forgotten, especially by those whose lives she touched,” Jarrell E. Daniels, a staff member at the Center and a formerly incarcerated person, said.

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