Black Rosie the Riveter

We’ve all seen Norman Rockwell’s iconic Rosie the Riveter image used as propaganda for several causes from recruiting women to work in support of World War II efforts to championing the Lesbian/Gay rights movement in the United States.

I found this color photograph of an African-American Rosie in The Library of Congress’ Prints and Photographs Division online database. According to the website, “Nearly three million women worked in defense plants during World War II. By 1944, 16% of working women held jobs in war industries.”

In my ignorance of history, I never realized that black women were recruited in these efforts too. Or perhaps I thought they would’ve been prevented from taking on these roles. It’s interesting how at a time when the world and our country was threatened by the spread of Facism, it seems that racism and discrimination was put aside to rally together as Americans in defense.

What must it have been like to be a black Rosie the Riveter? There’s an amazing movie waiting to be made here… See more Rosie pictures made for the Office of War Information, including some shots by Gordon Parks.

PHOTO: Operating a hand drill at Vultee, woman working on a “Vengeance” dive bomber – Nashville, Tennessee, 1943 by Alfred Palmer.

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