Kristin Lems

On this date in 1950, folksinger and songwriter Kristin Lems was born to an acclaimed concert pianist and a Dutch immigrant father. She grew up in Evanston, Illinois. She was a National Merit Scholar and a Fulbright Scholar and has earned a Ph.D. Accompanying herself on guitar, Lems became the troubadour at 1970s rallies for the Equal Rights Amendment and women’s rights, also writing topical songs on many progressive issues, such as safe energy, peace and racial equality.

She has shared the stage with two presidential first ladies, Maya Angelou, Jacques Cousteau, Pete Seeger, Malvina Reynolds, Holly Near, Peter, Paul and Mary and many others. Gloria Steinem called her “a one-woman argument against the notion that the women’s movement doesn’t have a sense of humor.” She has traveled widely and also performs in Farsi (Persian). Lem’s albums include “Upbeat!” and “Oh Mama — plus!” with many of her early hits. She sings an original song on “The Best of Broadside,” a CD anthology issued by the Smithsonian/Folkways label.

Lems also appeared on FFRF’s first musical album, “My Thoughts Are Free,” with FFRF Co-President Dan Barker. She has been named a “Woman of Illinois Repute,” Humanist Heroine of the American Humanist Association and an FFRF Freethought Heroine. She and Barker sing together on this recording of the freethought anthem “Die Gedanken Sind Frei.” It’s included on Barker’s album “Friendly Neighborhood Atheist.”

PHOTO: Lems on FFRF’s “Freethought Matters” in February 2019.

Freedom From Religion Foundation