Nan Freeman

One of the fallen

On January 25, 1972, 18-year-old Jewish college student Nan Freeman was picketing with farm workers on strike at the Talisman Sugar Plant near Belle Grade, Florida. Nan was passing out leaflets to drivers when a truck carrying 70,000 pounds of sugar cane drove into the entrance. The truck and trailer were not properly aligned and the trailer cut too sharply, knocking Nan into the guard rail, killing her.

“Nan did not go to Belle Glade to be a martyr or posthumously famous. She went to accompany, to support people who all too often are invisible. She went to say “you matter” – and your lives matter. She went to say that it is wrong to be complacent about injustice to others. She went to demonstrate that there were people like her who cared about people like farm workers.” Sam Trickey, NFWM Board Member, offered these words at a memorial for Nan Freeman in January 2020.

“To some [Nan Freeman] is a young girl who lost her life in a tragic accident,” Cesar Chavez wrote in a statement after learning of her death. “To us she is a sister who picketed with farm workers in the middle of the night because of her love for justice. She is a young woman who fulfilled the commandments by loving her neighbors even to the point of sacrificing her own life. To us, Nan Freeman is Kadosha in the Hebrew tradition, a holy person to be honored and remembered for as long as farm workers struggle for justice.”


For more about Nan Freeman, see NFWM’s remembrance page.

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