Today I venture out to see a few local national historical sites. The first stop was in Richmond, CA at the Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front Park. This is located right on the Richmond shipyards and was a beautiful setting right across the bay from the Golden Gate Bridge. “Rosies” were affectionately known women who helped change the outcome of World War II by working alongside the men in a common goal, which helped change industry. The four Richmond shipyards produced 747 ships, more than any other shipyard complex in the country. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, American was transformed and known as “home front”. Industry skyrocketed including minorities and women, which was embodied by “Rosie the Riveter”.
The Richmond shipyards was the center of wartime shipbuilding and had an effect all over the United States areas by what was produced in Richmond. Richmond was chosen because of four main reasons: (1) Terminus for Major Railroad lines, (2) a deep harbor, (3) ample of land available to expand, and (4) ready and willing workforce.
During the war, six million women entered the US workforce. While many needed no urging to aid the war effort, the government actively recruited them, first targeting single white women. The appeal later extended to married women, then minority women. Many people, including women, had to overcome Depression-era attitudes about women taking jobs from men – and about married women working at all. Though women across the social spectrum worked during the war, minorities and working-class women made up half of those who entered the work force!
Of course, they met with skepticism; paid less, met with condescension, and harassment. But, as they proved themselves to be as skilled as the men, things softened.
As the men returned from the war, many women were urged to give up their jobs to returning veterans. Though they lost what they gained, they proved to themselves that they could do “men’s work”. And thus, Rosie the Riveter and Wendy the Welder worked to make America great!
Even the basement area was to the era including the bathrooms from steel stairs and galvanized pipes all over!
Now, a word about the Visitor’s Center. It was immaculate and professionally done. The exhibits were amazing! Very concise and colorful. I would highly recommend visiting this National Historic Park, and while you at it, bug the National Parks System to help Richmond get a Rosie the Riveter National Sticker! They highly deserve one!