Betty Reid Soskin, America’s oldest active national park ranger and human rights advocate, retired from service March 31 after celebrating her 100th birthday in September at Rosie the Riveter/Home Front National Historic Park. Second World War confirmed.
Soskin began working at the park as a consultant in 2000. At the time, she was the only African-American in the planning sessions.
There, she revealed her strained relationship with Rosie the Riveter, who became a symbol of the -only- experiences of white women during the war, so she introduced changes.
In 2011, Soskin joined the National Park Service as a permanent employee and became known for her outings in the park. These included many personal stories and were sold out weeks or even months in advance.
And she had a lot to tell. In your youth, she experienced segregation, worked as an office worker during the war, and was involved in the civil rights movement, both with the Black Panthers and the Anti-War Movement.
In 1942, she also worked for the U.S. Air Force, but quit after learning that “she was employed only because her superiors believed she was white,” according to a Park Service biography.
During her time at the park and museum, she honored women who worked in factories during the war.
“To be a part of helping to mark the place where this dramatic trajectory of my own life, combined with others of my generation, will influence the future through the footprints we left behind was incredible,” she said.
Betty Reid Soskin was named California Woman of the Year in 1995 and was named Glamor Magazine’s Woman of the Year in 2018.
After lighting the national Christmas tree at the White House in 2015, Soskin was presented with a presidential coin by President Barack Obama.
His golden years weren’t all joy, however. In June 2016, she was woken up in her home by a “thief” who repeatedly hit her in the face, dragged her out of the room and beat her before fleeing with the coin and other valuables.
She returned to work as soon as she recovered.
“Betty has had a profound impact on the National Park Service and the way we carry out our mission,” said NPS Director Chuck Sams.
“I am grateful for her lifelong dedication to sharing her story and wish her all the best in retirement. Their efforts remind us that we must seek and make room for all perspectives so that we can tell a more complete and inclusive story of our nation. Congratulations Betty!”