Marie Equi for the Oregon Quarterly

Illustrated scenes from 20th century activist Marie Equi’s life for the Oregon Quarterly. To see everything I drew and to read the whole story go to the Oregon Quarterly article. Or go read the book the Oregon Quarterly article is based on. Or watch the OPB documentary about Equi’s life which is full of archival photographs (The Oregon Experience S17E3).

Drawing of Marie Equie orating on a soapbox surrounded by people holding signs with slogans including "votes for women," and "eight hour work day."

A graduate of the University of Oregon Medical School, Marie Equi was a homesteader, activist, lesbian, mother, and physician. Throughout her courageous life, she fought for labor reform, free speech, women’s suffrage, family planning, fair wages, and peace.”

Ed Dorsch, “She Risked Everything for Women, Workers, and Justice”, Oregon Quarterly, January 17, 2024
Marie Equi horsewhipping school superintendent O.D. Taylor. The image is captioned "she is queen today."

Process notes: Equi’s daughter was a pilot, so I looked up images of pilots in the Oregon Historical Society digital archives and found these photos of Amelia Earhart visiting Portland.

Drawing Marie Equi felt a little like returning to the Tingle zine. The only tragedy: yet again I’m so close and yet so far from using this extensive and amazingly well-indexed archive of Great Depression and WWII-era federally funded photography.

Describing the project to Shay Mirk: “I’m working on illustrations of this woman who was a doctor and openly lesbian in the early 1900s–“

Shay: “Oh, Marie Equi? I made a comic about her.”

(A brief google later, found it on Flicker. It’s excellent.)

Drawing of Marie Equi's San Fransisco Honor Walk plaque.