top of page

24" x 30"

Oils on Canvas



Dr. Marie Equi (1872-1952), a physician, open lesbian and anti-war activist, would have fit better in the Portland of today than in her times. She was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts to working class immigrant parents. In 1893, she and a friend moved to The Dalles. There she came to the authorities’ attention for horsewhipping a school superintendent who reneged on a promise to employ her friend. She was applauded by the townspeople who auctioned the whip to pay her fines. 

Causes she publicly championed included labor rights, women’s suffrage, free speech, state-supported higher education, prison reform and an eight-hour workday. As a physician, she provided birth control information and abortions to her patients. 


Equi became even more fiery and outspoken after a violent incident with police during a 1913 cannery strike in Portland. She began promoting anarchy and opposing the US’s preparations for World War I. This led to a sedition conviction in 1918 and ten months in San Quentin Prison. 

The famous labor activist Elizabeth Gurley Flynn lived with Equi from 1928 to 1936. Flynn dubbed Equi “the stormy petrel of the Northwest.” This bird symbolizes revolutionary views, and joins Equi on her shoulder in this portrait. The wings of fire connote her reputation as a fiery speaker. The halo of hornets represents her frequently sharp words, and alludes to an incident in which she defended herself against an officer by stabbing him with a hatpin. 

Dr. Marie Equi

    bottom of page