Florence of America

Florence of America

A Feminist in the Age of McCarthyism

The Regina Collection

by Florence Bean James

With Jean Freeman

Published by: University of Regina Press

272 pages, 107.95 x 165.10 mm, 2 Plates, black and white

  • Hardcover
  • ISBN: 9780889776470
  • Published: August 2019



Born on the Idaho frontier, Florence James was a New York City suffragette. The first to put Jimmy Cagney on stage, she founded both the Negro Repertory Theatre and the Seattle Repertory Playhouse. She worked with Francis Farmer, Paul Robson, and Helen Hayes, but her views on art and politics and her choice of plays led to a clash with the Un-American Activities Committee. In the wake of two Kafkaesque trials, where she condemned her persecutors as liars, she fled to Canada and kick-started professional theatre in Saskatchewan, the home to North America’s first socialist government. 

This new edition of Fists Upon a Star (called “sensational” by Jimmy Cagney) tells an inspiring story of one woman speaking truth to power. 

"An amazing story of achievement, heartbreak, and endurance...But above all, it is a moving and powerful cautionary tale of what can happen, at any time of any age, when, in [Arthur] Miller's words, a whole world begins to cry 'spirits.'" —Moira Day, Department Head of Drama, University of Saskatchewan