About Frances Crowe
Frances Crowe (b. Carthage, Missouri, 1919) is a prominent American peace activist and pacifist from the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts.
Like many other American women, Crowe worked in a factory during World War II. In 1945, following the bombing of civilian populations in Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, she became a peace activist. Since that time, her participation in numerous protests has led to arrests, trials, and imprisonment both federally and locally. She has been active in the Society of Friends, American Friends Service Committee, and War Resisters League, and co-founded the Traprock Peace Center (based in Deerfield, Massachusetts) and the Committee to End Apartheid (based in Springfield, Massachusetts).
In the 1960s, Crowe founded the Northampton, Massachusetts chapter of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, the Sane Nuclear Policy Committee, and the Valley Peace Center (based in Amherst, Massachusetts). She has also participated in the activities of Women Against the War and Amnesty International.
In 1967, during the Vietnam War, she worked as a draft counselor, providing counseling in her home to over 2,000 people about applying for conscientious objector status by the war's end. She continues to be an advocate for conscientious objectors. Stating that she cannot pay for killing, she has been a war tax refuser since the beginning of the Iraq War. She is also one of the core members of the Northampton Committee to Stop the War in Iraq.
In 1988, along with students, faculty, and the American Friends Service Committee's Working Group to End Apartheid, Crowe was instrumental in getting the Trustees of UMass to be the first area university that divested its stocks from corporations involved in South Africa.
In 1990, UMass students who had been investigating military contracts on campus found that there was a Biological Defense Contract to do research on weaponizing Anthrax. After four years of peaceful protest with assistance from Crowe and Western Mass AFSC, the University dropped the contract and agreed to never again take a Biological Weapons Contract from the Defense Department.
Crowe has been also active in the movement against nuclear power in New England since the 1970s. In September 2009, she and three other women were arrested for non-violent civil disobedience at the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant.
Believing that our great dependence on oil as our chief source of energy means that war is necessary for us to continue to live as we live today, Crowe has given up using a car unless it is an emergency. She does not travel by air, only bus or train. She car pools and uses locally grown produce that she freezes, cans and dehydrates to eat year round. She keeps her thermostat at 60 degrees and has retired her clothes dryer and air conditioner. She is trying to live as we all can live – without war, healthy, conscious of our neighbors, respectful of each other and our planet, open to constant learning, and intent on building a more sustainable future.
For her lifelong commitment to the Peace Movement and her unrelenting opposition to war through war tax resistance and eco-pacifist lifestyle, she was awarded the Courage of Conscience award May 4, 2007, by the Peace Abbey in Sherborn, Massachusetts. An archive of her papers is kept at the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Crowe holds degrees from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri (1939) and Syracuse University (1941), and conducted graduate work at Columbia University and The New School for Social Research. She lives in Northampton, Massachusetts. She married Thomas Crowe in 1945 and has three children.