Craig L. Rodwell was an American gay rights activist known for founding the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop on November 24, 1967, the first bookstore devoted to gay and lesbian authors and as the prime mover for the creation of the New York City pride demonstration. Rodwell is considered by some to be quite possibly the leading gay rights activist in the early homophile movement of the 1960s.
Rodwell was born in Chicago, IL. His parents divorced prior to his first birthday and for the next few years he was boarded out for day care where he was required to do kitchen labor and laundry to supplement his board and care. When he was 6 years old, Rodwell's mother, Marion Kastman, fearing that the child care set up could cause her to lose custody of her son, arranged for his admission to the Christian Scientist affiliated Chicago Junior School for "problem" boys, in Elgin, IL. Conditions and treatment at the school were described as "Dickensian" and Rodwell got a reputation for being a rebellious child, as well as a "sissy," during his seven years there. It was at Chicago Junior School that Rodwell first experienced same-sex relationships and also came to internalize the Christian Scientist notion that "truth is power and that truth is the greatest good."