Vivian Leburg Rothstein

b. 1946

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Vivian Leburg Rothstein until we are able to commission a full entry.

Vivian Rothstein with Stella and Carien Wilder in Leake County, Mississippi, where Vivian visited them during the 1994 Freedom Summer Project 30th Anniversary Reunion. Stella housed Vivian in 1965 when she was a civil rights worker.
Courtesy of Vivan Rothstein.

Vivian Leburg Rothstein’s early experiences fighting for civil rights led her to a long career advocating for peace, women’s rights, and the labor movement. As a student at University of California-Berkeley, Rothstein became involved with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in 1963. During the summer of 1965, she travelled to Mississippi to participate in demonstrations, voter registration drives, and school integration and was jailed multiple times. Deciding not to return to university, she became a full-time community organizer, working with Students for a Democratic Society and with Southern Appalachian whites. In the late 1960s, she became involved with the anti-Vietnam war movement. On a peace delegation to North Vietnam in 1967, she met with the Vietnamese Women’s Union, which inspired her to help found Chicago Women’s Liberation Union in 1969, thereby focusing her efforts on organizing working-class women. She also served as a member of a delegation of Americans who accepted an invitation from the North Vietnamese to interview American prisoners of war. Subsequently, Rothstein lost her passport and both she and her husband lost jobs. In the early 1970s she, her husband, their two children, and six other adults formed a commune in Chicago. During the mid-1970s and early 1980s, Rothstein worked with the American Friends Service Committee on its Middle East Peace Education Program and with Planned Parenthood. Following her divorce in the mid-1980s, Rothstein spent ten years running a nonprofit in California that provided shelters and services to homeless adults and families as well as battered women and their children in Santa Monica. In 2003 she began serving as a development consultant for Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) She also directed organizing efforts by the Hotel Workers International Union in Los Angeles for a living wage and benefits and she collaborated with friends on a book about their experiences in the women’s movement. She remains committed to left-wing activism, occasionally contributing to the left-wing California news website Capital and Main. 

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Vivian Leburg Rothstein." (Viewed on April 22, 2024) <http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/rothstein-vivan>.