National Park Service Seeking Stories from Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgender World War II Civilians
Preserving the Hidden History of WWII American Home Front
(Richmond, CA)—Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park has been tasked with preserving the stories and artifacts associated with the civilian American World War II Home Front. Since 2000, when the park was established, many stories and artifacts relating to life in the 1940’s have been donated to the park. However, there are still many aspects of the civilian WWII home front that the park would like to discover and preserve, including the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Likely due to the prejudice and severe legal, economic and social consequences of revealing sexual orientation in the 1940s, the park’s museum collection does not yet have any information about LGBT civilians.
“There is a sense of urgency for the park to collect these and other under-represented stories, since many people from this generation have already passed away without documenting their contributions or experiences from World War II,” says Lead Park Ranger Elizabeth Tucker. The park is partnering with the Rosie the Riveter Trust, which supports the park’s efforts to document LGBT stories, and consulting with public historian Donna Graves to produce a traveling exhibit in 2015.
A confidential phone line has been set-up: (510) 232-5050 x 6631. Please call this number if you have any information about LGBT civilian life in the 1940s. Submitting a story, photo or artifact to the park’s museum collection is a way to honor their history and contributions.
On March 24th at 3 PM, the National Park Service and the Rosie the Riveter Trust are partnering with the Lesbian Social Club in Rossmoor to host an event at this large retirement community in Walnut Creek, CA to gather LGBT stories. The author of “Wax,” a fictional account of two lesbian shipyards workers in the Richmond Kaiser Shipyards, will be the keynote speaker. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP to 510-232-5050 x6631.
Explore the nation’s history of the WWII home front by visiting Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, CA. The park’s Visitor Education Center is open seven days a week from 10 AM to 5 PM and is located at 1414 Harbour Way South, suite 3000, Richmond, CA 94804. For more information and directions to the Visitor Education Center, please call (510) 232-5050 x 0 or visit http://www.nps.gov/rori/planyourvisit/directions.htm. Admission to the Visitor Education Center and all programs is free.
If you would like to receive information about upcoming park events, visit www.rosietheriveter.org and sign up for the newsletter. The Rosie the Riveter Trust is the nonprofit association that is building a community of support for the national park.