Remembering Nan Freeman

Nan Freeman

Nan Freeman, the 18‐year old Florida college student from Massachusetts who gave her life picketing with striking sugar cane workers in central Florida in 1972 was remembered with a panel discussion and memorial service on her New College campus in Sarasota, Fla. on Jan. 24, 2020. Nan volunteered with the United Farm Workers on campus and joined striking farm workers at the Talisman Sugar Plant, picketing north of Belle Glade, Fla. when, at 3:15 a.m. on Jan. 25, 1972, a double trailer truck with 70,000 pounds of struck sugar cane raced into the entrance and crushed her to death.

The loss of such a promising young woman was a blow to her family and friends, and the farm worker movement. Forty‐eight years later, “we wonder what Nan would have been because…everyone says she would have done something fabulous,” says her sister, Elizabeth Freeman. “To us she is a sister who picketed with farm workers in the middle of the night because of her love for justice,” Cesar Chavez wrote, adding, “Nan is Kadosha in the Hebrew tradition, a holy person to be honored and remembered.”

Those who joined us in remembering Nan Freeman’s sacrifice at a panel discussion and memorial service were her family and friends, the United Farm Workers, Coalition of Immokalee Workers, National Farm Worker Ministry and Young American Dreamers. Those who were unable to attend were invited to pause for a moment of prayer and reflection at the time of the memorial service.

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