Interview, Rozetta McDowell

May 15, 1980

Rozetta McDowell grew up in Chicago, Illinois, and Buffalo, New York. She holds a degree in business administration from the Rochester Institute of Technology and a law degree from Columbia University. She came to Rochester in the 1970s to practice law at the Hurst and King firm, which later became King and McDowell. Prior to her law career, McDowell worked as a New York State Civil Servant for 11 years and served on the New York State Commission on Human Rights. She was active in the Rochester community, participating in organizations such as the NAACP, the Urban League, and the YWCA, and she was named “Professional Woman of the Year” by the National Association of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs.

In this interview, McDowell shares that she decided to become a lawyer because she thought it was the best way she could help improve conditions for African Americans. She says that when she first came to Rochester in 1956, blacks lacked employment opportunities and were confined to the worst living spaces in the city. She explains how Affirmative Action and New York State Anti-Discrimination laws have opened up opportunities since then.

Content Tags


  • 1950s
  • 1960s
  • 1970s
  • 1980s