Two women who became fugitives


NEW YORK -- It was a mean wind that forced Kathy Boudin and Cathlyn Wilkerson to flee naked and dazed into a Greenwich Village street on March 6, 1970, at the start of their lives as rebels on the run.

It was just after noon on that Friday and the two women were apparently sleeping on an upper floor of Miss Wilkerson's parents' townhouse on tree-lined West 11th Street when a powerful blast suddenly ripped through the building.


Besides their clothes and whatever remained of their lives, the two women, who were then in their mid-20s, left behind three dead comrades in the rubble -- Ted Gold, 23, a leader of the bloody 1968 Columbia University student uprising; Diane Oughton, 28, a former Peace Corps member and daughter of an Illinois banker; and Terry Robbins, 21, a former Kenyon College student.

Police said they were making bombs when they died.

Miss Wilkerson and Miss Boudin as well as their dead friends were Weathermen, who had split with the Students for a Democratic Society and vowed to use violence to topple the American society of their usually well-to-do parents.

The Weathermen got their name, which was to change over the years to the Weatherpeople and then the Weather Underground, from a line by Bob Dylan that goes, 'You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.'


For Miss Wilkerson and Miss Boudin the title of the song the line came from -- 'Subterranean Homesick Blues' -- perhaps came to mean more to them than they ever expected.

But in the moments after the blast, the women were true to the Weathermen ideal, showing they were in control of their situation although a fierce, explosive wind was at their backs.

They went to a neighbor's house, got some clothes and jumped into a cab that took them to a life in the underbelly of the nation's radical culture.

It would be more than a decade before either fugitive resurfaced.

In that time, both had a child and apparently assumed different identities to elude capture as they moved from place to place.

But when radical careers ended, the end came in entirely different ways.

Miss Wilkerson willingly surrendered on May 8, 1980. Miss Boudin was captured Tuesday in a bungled $1.6-million armored car robbery in which two police officers and a Brink's guard were killed in Nyack, N.Y.

While Miss Wilkerson, now 38, said her surrender did not mean she had given up her revolutionary ideals, she can look forward to a new life with her 3-year-old daughter once she finishes a 3-year prison term.


But Miss Boudin, who has a 1-year-old son, and her alleged radical cohorts in the Nyack shootout face a grimmer fate -- they could be given up to life in prison if convicted of killing the two policemen and the guard.

Latest Headlines


Follow Us