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FRANCES CROWE, In Memoriam: March 15, 1919 - August 27, 2019

Frances Crowe. Photo by Robbie Leppzer, used with permission.By Robbie Leppzer
Frances was a stellar light in western Massachusetts, inspiring thousands of people to become social justice and peace activists.


I feel very honored and personally inspired to have known Frances for over 40 years.


I first met Frances when I was 18 as a college student at Hampshire College in 1976.  Within a month of arriving in the Pioneer Valley, I was in Frances’ car driving to a peace demonstration in Washington, DC.


In May 1977, I filmed my first interview with Frances at the mass civil disobedience protest on the construction site of a nuclear reactor in Seabrook, New Hampshire, for my first documentary, SEABROOK 1977.  
Frances Crowe was featured prominently in my latest documentary, POWER STRUGGLE (, which chronicles the successful grassroots citizens’ effort to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vermont. 


In March 2019, when Frances celebrated her 100th birthday, she was joined by hundreds of people marching through the streets of Northampton, MA. I made a short film about this joyous day, FRANCES TURNS 100. 


On August 29, Amy Goodman, host of DEMOCRACY NOW, a global daily television and radio news program, featured an in-depth tribute to Frances, which featured extensive scenes of Frances protesting at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant from POWER STRUGGLE, along with a 2005 interview with Frances conducted by Amy. It was a very moving tribute. 


Later this fall, I will be posting at the POWER STRUGGLE website a video of a discussion panel that I moderated with Frances, along with Marcia Gagliardi and Hattie Nestel of the Shut It Down Affinity Group, talking about their experiences as activists in the Vermont Yankee struggle. This took place at the Northampton Center For The Arts in June 2019.

As Frances says about her life of activism in POWER STRUGGLE, “You can't do it alone. You need community to do this, so that you can support one another and move ahead together.”

While Frances will be sorely missed, her legacy of activism lives on the countless people she inspired to join movements for grassroots social change.

In particular, I feel heartened that Frances’ activism — and those of other activists from Vermont and western Massachusetts who participated in the struggle to close down the Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor — will continue to inspire people who see POWER STRUGGLE, as this film chronicles a rare victory of grassroots activists who actually won.  

Robbie Leppzer is director of the feature-length documentary film POWER STRUGGLE. For more information or to watch a film trailer, visit: To view the selected short videos mentioned above, visit: