Betty Reid-Soskin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

External images
Face shot
With Mayor Gayle McLaughlin.
 
Jump to: navigation, search

Betty Reid Soskin (born 1921) is a prominent African-American woman of California, who at age 92 serves as the country's oldest National Park Ranger in her position at Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond.[1][2]

Life and career[edit]

She was born in Detroit and raised in New Orleans until a hurricane and flood destroyed her family's home and business in 1927 and they relocated to Oakland. During World War II she worked as a clerk for Boilermakers A-36, a Jim Crow all-black union auxiliary. She does not consider herself a '"Rosie,"' one of the female World War II shipyard workers, who were mostly white. In June 1945 she and her husband, Mel Reid, founded Reid's Records in South Berkeley, a small, still-standing black business. They moved to Walnut Creek in the 1950s, where their children attended better public schools but the family encountered considerable racism. She became active in the local Unitarian Universalist congregation and the Black Caucus of the Unitarian Universalist Association. During the 1960s she wrote and performed songs, many dealing with civil rights and peace.

In 1972 she divorced Mel Reid and married William Soskin, a psychology professor at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1978 Mel Reid's health and finances had declined and she took over management of the music store, which led to becoming a prominent community activist. She served as field representative for State Assemblywomen Dion Aroner and Loni Hancock, and through that position became involved in the development of the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park. She is currently employed as a park ranger for the National Park Service working as tour guide and interpreter.

Honors[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ WWII meant opportunity for many women, oppression for others, by Caroline Zynco, San Francisco Chronicle, September 26, 2007, retrieved March 23, 2011
  2. ^ [1] Ranger's voice spans East Bay history], by Lee Hildebrand, San Francisco Chronicle, January 31, 2010, retrieved March 23, 2011
  3. ^ [2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ WWII meant opportunity for many women, oppression for others, by Caroline Zynco, San Francisco Chronicle, September 26, 2007, retrieved March 23, 2011
  2. ^ [1] Ranger's voice spans East Bay history], by Lee Hildebrand, San Francisco Chronicle, January 31, 2010, retrieved March 23, 2011
  3. ^ [2]

External links[edit]

External images
Face shot
With Mayor Gayle McLaughlin.