RICHMOND (KCBS)— This weekend the new visitor’s center for the Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front National Historic Park opened this weekend in Richmond.

The center has exhibits from around the country that detail the home-front response to the war. The historic Park was established 12 years ago.

Superintendent Tom Leatherman said the long awaited opening of the visitor’s center provides a starting point for people to learn about the Richmond shipyard’s vital role in the war.

“They really brought a diverse group of people together that had really never worked together before.” Leatherman said at the time both women and minorities were joining the workforce which had not been done before.

KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:

91-year-old Betty Reid Soskin is one of the nearly two dozen Rosies at the grand opening celebration. As a 20-year-old she worked in a Jim Crow union hall. Unions weren’t yet desegregated. She was a clerk at shipyards, where she filed cards.

Now she’s a park ranger and said the recruitment of black workers from the south in the early 1940’s brought a population of people, who wouldn’t share drinking fountains in their home states for another 20 years, into the Bay Area.

“They had to complete under the flawed social system that existed at the time. They nonetheless managed to build 747 ships in three years and eight months,” Soskin said.

Admission to the center, located in the historic Oil House at the Ford Point Building on 1414 Harbour Way South, is free.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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