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PSR Remembers Frances Crowe

“Core awareness lies at the bottom not the top.” – Frances Crowe, during an acceptance speech as recipient of the Joe A. Callaway Award in December 2009

PSR was saddened by the recent passing of the legendary activist and war resister Frances Crowe at the age of 100. Crowe was an ardent activist who was passionate about the health threats posed by climate change, nuclear weapons, and war. She played an integral role in PSR and the PSR Pioneer Valley chapter in Western Massachusetts, along with numerous other peace and justice organizations.

Crowe worked for Bell Labs during World War II. The horrific bombings of civilian populations in Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki led her to becoming a peace activist. In 1967, during the Vietnam War, she provided draft counseling to over 2,000 people about applying for conscientious objector status, and continued to be an advocate for conscientious objectors after the war ended. When the Iraq War began, she became a war tax refuser, stating that she could not pay for killing.

Crowe became involved in the movement against nuclear power and for safe energy in New England in the 1970s and was one of 1,414 people arrested at the occupation of the Seabrook nuclear power plant construction site in April, 1977. Throughout her career as an activist, she was arrested and imprisoned multiple times for civil disobedience- although when asked how often she was arrested, she responded, “Not enough.” Her last arrest occurred on June 24, 2017, when, at the age of 98, she protested construction of the Kinder Morgan pipeline through a Massachusetts forest.

For her lifelong commitment to peace and justice, she was awarded the Courage of Conscience award May 4, 2007, by the Peace Abbey in Sherborn, Massachusetts.

Crowe and her husband, Thomas, both played an integral role in the rise of the PSR Pioneer Valley chapter. Thomas Crowe was a physician in the U.S. Army during the bombing of Hiroshima. He became active in Physicians for Social Responsibility and founded PSR Pioneer Valley in Western Massachusetts, which he and Frances led for many years. Thomas predeceased Frances in 1997. They are survived by three children.

“Frances and Tom Crowe made everything good happen,” said Dr. Carl Saviano, President of PSR Pioneer Valley. “Tom Crowe started PSR Pioneer Valley and helped keep it going. Frances was always very supportive.”

Watch an interview with Frances Crowe on Democracy Now! below where she discusses her work and that of her late husband.

Read her obituary in The New York Times.