Written by: Gabrielle S. Bates
During the Great Depression, married women were forbidden from employment in 26 states. During this time, women working outside the home contributed to eradicating family values. This changed in the 1940s due to WWII when the supply chain stopped running smoothly. WWII birthed the iconic symbol of empowerment: Rosie the Riveter. This symbol was brought to life by the artist Norman Rockwell. He hoped to encourage women to work in factories to fulfill their patriotic duty.
Richmond, California is home to the Rosie the Riveter Trust. The mission of the Trust is to keep the memories of the Rosies alive. They also celebrate their accomplishments. Thanks to the generosity of Ed and Saryl Von de Porten, their Home Front memorabilia is on display at the museum. You can also visit the SS Red Oak Victory ship. It is the last surviving ship constructed at the Richmond Shipyard during WWII. It serves as a testament to those who built and sailed on the ship.
Male and female workers in Richmond’s Kaiser Shipyards.
Artists Cherly Barton and Susan Schwartzenberg created the Rosie the Riveter Memorial. This memorial is made up of panels with quotes, illuminating the highs and lows of the time. Along the museums’ Bay Trail is the Wall of Honor. This Wall of Honor is constructed with the help of family members who would like to honor a home front worker. They can contribute with a small donation and quality photographs. Depending on health conditions, the museum also participates in Rosie Fridays. On most Fridays, you can meet with a Rosie and discuss their historical experiences. If you are in the Richmond area, call ahead of time and schedule a visit with the Visitor Education Center. The Rosie the Riveter Trust is a reminder of how far women have come along in the workforce.