(Part 1) Born in 1946, Diane Crothers was raised in New Britain, Connecticut. Her father worked as a pediatrician, and her mother, a homemaker, became an amateur golfer later in life. She discusses her family's roots and her middle-class upbringing in 1950s and 1960s America. Crothers began her undergraduate education at Jackson College (Tufts).
(Parts 1 and 2) In 1965, she volunteered for a Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) voter registration project at Miles College in Alabama. (Part 2) She reflects upon her upbringing, college education, civil rights work in Fairfield, Alabama, and gender norms of the 1960s. In 1967, she moved to North Carolina and organized textile workers. She went to the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and eventually earned a degree in 1973. After moving to New York City, she became involved in radical feminism through the Redstockings and co-founded the New York Radical Feminists. She partook in a sit-in at the Ladies Home Journal and helped organize a speak-out and conference on rape. (Parts 2 and 3) She analyzes the ideology of women's liberation, consciousness-raising sessions and actions undertaken to effect change. (Part 3) In 1970, she debated Playboy founder Hugh Hefner on The Dick Cavett Show.
She co-founded the Women's Rights Law Reporter with Ann Marie Boylan and helped the journal become affiliated with Rutgers Law School-Newark through the help of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. (Part 4) Crothers attended Rutgers Law School-Newark from 1971 to 1974 and (Parts 4 and 5) examines her experiences as a law student.
After law school, she worked as an affirmative action lawyer at Staten Island Community College. (Parts 5 and 6) She co-founded Project Second Chance, a career development program for women. In Washington, D.C., she went into government work as a Trial Attorney General for the D.C. Office of Corporation Counsel and civil rights attorney at the Labor Department and later Treasury Department. Before retiring, she worked in New York City Government as the Chief Diversity Officer. (Part 6) Crothers reflects upon motherhood, the women's movement, affirmative action and reproductive rights.
The Rutgers Oral History Archives received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. In the 2021-2022 cycle, this grant assisted the ROHA staff in making this oral history available to you for your use.