Dear Leonard Roy Frank,
Wade Hudson, a long-time activist and one of your main collaborators and friends, announced that you had died suddenly either late Wednesday night, January 14, 2015, or early Thursday morning, and all of us in the Mad Movement have lost one of our most powerful champions.
Leonard, I always thought of you as one of the early, beat drop-outs, because you were going into the business world after your graduation from the Wharton School of Business in the 1954, but your spiritual journey brought you into conflict with this society. As part of your mystical experience you were one of the early Americans in that generation to renounce eating meat and dairy products, and of course you grew that big beard. In 1962, because of your cultural and religious rebellion, you experienced absolutely incredible psychiatric abuse, including both forced insulin coma shock therapy and electroshock therapy. Many times I have told the story about how your psychiatrist checked to see if you had shaved or deviated from your vegetarianism, and when you persevered he ordered more forced electroshock.
After Wade’s announcement, one of the first things I thought of about our friendship these nearly four decades, was your sense of humor. I know that many people will remember your serious biblical-like magnetism whenever you spoke out against psychiatric tyranny, which was frequent, but I recall that nearly every time we talked you always made me laugh with your subtle, witty spirit.
I see that you died at age 82, born July 15, 1932, and you have unquestionably been one of the main human rights activists in the mental health field in this past century, so I hope many people reflect on your contribution to this community. For now, I make the following brief observations:
Ethics: You always framed your indictment of psychiatric abuse in moral ideals. From your nonviolence, I learned a lot about how the work of Gandhi and other leaders informed our work for those marginalized by a psychiatric label. You helped teach me that civil disobedience is important in the revolution that we require today.
Quotes: In order to re-create your memory following your psychiatric oppression with so much shock, you became one of the foremost experts on quotes. I love the fact that one can now walk into seemingly every bookstore and find your Quotationary, which has more than 20,000 quotes, and woven throughout those quotes one can find zingers that skewer the psychiatric industry.
Support: You have always uplifted the movement to peacefully overthrow psychiatry, and I see that Wade asks that people give a donation in your memory. Wade writes that:
“If you want to make a charitable donation, I suggest that you do so to MindFreedom International, P.O. Box 11284, Eugene, OR 97440-3484 USA or online at http://www.mindfreedom.org/.”
3 thoughts on “To My Friend, Activist Hero Author Survivor: The Late Leonard Roy Frank”
Here’s a great article online that gives anyone not familiar with him some perspective on who he was: http://psychiatrized.org/Articles/080401StreetSmartLRoyFrankTransformationJourney.pdf
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