Flyer for 2014 Port Chicago Memorial eventsProject News:

ROHO, Friends of Port Chicago, and The National Park Service invite you to remember the 70th anniversary of the Port Chicago disaster with three events this week:

17 July 2014: The Port Chicago Disaster at 70: A Symposium on Race and the Military During World War II. 8:30am-1:30pm Diablo Valley College. 321 Golf Club Road in Pleasant Hill.

18 July 2014: Steve Shenkin, author of The Port Chicago 50, for young adults. 2pm at the Rosie the Riveter Visitor Education Center.

19 July 2014: 70th Anniversary Commemoration of The Port Chicago Disaster. 9am-noon. The Riggers Loft, SS Red Oak Victory, 1337 Canal Blvd., Berth 6A, Richmond, CA.


Flyer for Seeking WWII Civilian LGBT Hidden History

ROHO and The National Park Service invite you to contact us with any information about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender civilian life in the 1940s on the American Home Front. A confidential phone line has been set up: 510.232.5050 x6631. Rosie The Riveter / WWII Home Front National Park. Or contact David Dunham at rtr@lists.berkeley.edu to participate in an oral history.

----

Thanks to our Bay Area Rosies for spreading the word of WWII efforts on the home front with their recent visit to the White House! For oral history interviews with White House visitors Phyllis Gould, Agnes Moore, and 200 more diverse WWII Home Front stories, see transcript below or visit Rosie The Riveter WWII Home Front National HIstorical Park in Richmond, California! Watch Good Morning American clip of Rosies meeting Vice President Biden and President Obama.

Project Overview
In collaboration with the City of Richmond and the National Park Service, the Regional Oral History Office is interviewing residents of the Bay Area about their wartime experiences during World War II. We are uncovering how and why people from different backgrounds came to the Bay Area, what they did when they arrived, and what they learned from the fluidity and flux of wartime life that affected decisions they made after the war ended. We are interested in a broad range of topics: What did women learn about the relationships between work and family life? How did attitudes change toward education? How did war affect race relations and reshape civil rights struggles? Did new ideas about sexuality take root, and if so, why and where? What happened to entertainment? To what degree did religious organizations provide people with a new sense of community? Interviews collected are used in the National Park Service's visitor center at the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Homefront National Historic Park and the Richmond Central Library in Richmond, California. Participating narrators with transcripts are listed below.

Video Excerpts
   

Related Interviews
"On the Waterfront: An Oral History of Richmond, California," ROHO Interviews by Judith Dunning

Alexandre, Angelina
Angelina Alexandre
Interviewer: Jess Rigelhaupt
Date of Interview: 1/17/2005

Angelina Alexandre came to Richmond from Merced via Needles, California. She worked in the Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant from 1945 to 1946. She was active in the union at her workplace. She tells of the Japanese internment in Needles, and about working while having a family during the war.

Robert Allen
Robert Allen
Interviewer: Javier Arbona
Date of Interview: 9/8/2011

Dr. Robert Allen was born on May 29, 1942 in Atlanta, Georgia. In his sophomore year of high school, he enrolled in Morehouse College as part of a scholarship program, where he became involved in early Civil Rights Movement demonstrations. He went on to join the Anti-War Movement in the late sixties. After earning his Master’s Degree at the New School for Social Research in New York, Dr. Allen earned his PhD in Sociology at the University of California, San Francisco. While working on his dissertation, he discovered articles about the Port Chicago explosion and began to research the topic further. He tracked down and interviewed several of the surviving mutineers and ultimately published The Port Chicago Mutiny, a detailed account of the Port Chicago explosion, the ensuing mutiny trial, and significance in the Civil Rights Movement.

Photo of Ralph Anderson
Ralph Anderson
Interviewer: Sam Redman
Date of Interview: 8/29/2011

Ralph Anderson was a teenager in Oakland during World War II. In this interview, he describes the impact of the Great Depression on his community, his early education, upbringing in the Presbyterian church, and his interactions with Japanese Americans in his neighborhood before and after the war. Topics discussed in this oral history also include rationing, baseball, unions, housing, and the New Deal. Anderson also recounts his memories of the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge – and he compares the experience of traveling between Oakland and San Francisco before and after the completion of the Bay Bridge.

Jack Arnold
Jack Arnold
Interviewer: David Washburn
Date of Interview: 2/1/2003

Originally from Iowa, Arnold entered the merchant marines during World War II, and later settled in Richmond where he had relatives working in the shipyards. For the latter part of the war, he worked as a bartender in several Richmond bars. Discusses: bars, nightlife, meeting wife in Richmond, segregation, local communist activity, development of suburbs.
Tony Avalos
Tony Avalos
Interviewer: David Washburn
Date of Interview: 11/6/2002

Raised on South 1st Street in Richmond. Avalos attended local schools and St. Mark's Church. Worked in local industries, including Kaiser during the war. After the war he became a longtime employee of the Richmond School District. Discusses: the character of Richmond's Mexican-American community, dances at Sweet's Ballroom, zoot-suiters, racism.
Photo of Helen August
Helen August
Interviewer: Sam Redman
Date of Interview: 2/21/2011

Helen August was born in New York City into a secular, Jewish family active in the labor movement. When she was twelve years old, her family moved to Southern California. In this interview, she talks about the differences between New York City and Los Angeles, especially in terms of race relations and diversity. She discusses, in depth, her impressions of the migrants to Southern California that arrived as a result of the availability of wartime jobs. Following her attending a government jobs program, August found work at the start of the war at Adel Precision Products, Incorporated – a plant that made parts for the many airplane factories in the region. Carrying on the tradition in her family, she played an active role in union activity over the course of her life.

Still of William Ball
William Ball
Date of Interview: 7/6/10
Interviewer: Julie Stein

William B. Ball was born in Oakland, California, and grew up in Wheatland, a town fifty miles north of Sacramento. His father and grandfather ran a repair shop throughout the Great Depression. As a teenager, he worked for his uncle on survey teams on the Sacramento River. He studied engineering at UC Berkeley and worked for the San Francisco Resettlement Agency as a draftsman designing labor camps for Dust Bowl refugees. Ball then attended the Boeing Aeronautics School and then worked as an Engineer for the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington from 1938 to 1940, during which time he persuaded Franklin D. Roosevelt and Postmaster Jim Farley to visit the project site. He continued his engineering career working in the Kaiser Shipyard and on Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose project. He discusses changes in Richmond, including rural newcomers, and collaborative efforts between engineers and architects in the Kaiser Shipyards. See also Tales From a Grandfather by William B. Ball, deposited to The Bancroft Library with his oral history.
Photo of Velma Barkhausen
Velma Barkhausen
Date of Interview: 9/22/06
Interviewer: Jess Rigelhaupt

Velma Barkhausen was born in Arkansas, then moved as a child with her family to Oklahoma. She and her family moved to California spurred by drought and famine during the Great Depression. Employed first in the agricultural industry, picking and canning fruits, she and her family later joined wartime industry, taking jobs in the shipyards. In this interview, she discusses her family's rural background, migration to California, work in California's agricultural industry, work in the shipyards, and the Port Chicago explosion.
Photo of Rose Barquist

Rose Barquist
Date of Interview: 3/30/2011
Interviewer: Sam Redman

Rose Barquist was born and spent her early years on a farm in Polk County, Iowa. She moved to southern California in 1941. Two years later she married Richard Barquist and moved to San Francisco where he attended medical school. Ms. Barquist discusses their life together as they moved for his biomedical job with the government. She tells about wartime San Diego, the role of religion in her life, and her work in a Washington D.C. coop nursery school.

Avis Blanchette in her security uniform

Avis Blanchette
Interviewer: David Dunham
Date of Interview: 2/13/2004

Avis Blanchette was born in Canada and raised in Minneapolis by her father, an inventor and barber. She joined her family in the Bay Area in 1943, while her husband went off to war. She did office and security patrol work at the Kaiser shipyards, mapping incidents in the shipyard and hosting gala events. In this interview, she talks about social life in the wartime Bay Area and her experiences of shipyard work and union membership.

Photo of Betty Branan

Betty Branan
Interviewer: David Dunham
Date of Interview: 12/20/2011

Betty Branan recalls growing up in Oklahoma, moving with her parents to Richmond, CA, where her parents went to work in the Richmond shipyeards. She recounts her own experiences with war work, first as a riveter at Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach and then as a tacker in a plate shop in the Richmond shipyards. She recalls various aspects of the war years, including housing, social life, race relations, brownouts, and rationing.

Photo of Roberta Bremer

Roberta Bremer
Interviewer: Jess Rigelhaupt
Date of Interview: 4/15/2008

Roberta Bremer was born in Vallejo, but soon moved to Crockett, where she grew up. She recounts her experiences working in the office of the Boilermakers’ Union, and as a pilot car driver for the truck dispatch, collecting equipment for Kaiser Shipyard Four. She describes how children of Italian descent would get into fights with her son, who is of German descent, during World War II. She also tells of local reactions to the exclusion of Italians from the West Coast, and the confusion following the explosion at Port Chicago.

Photo of Evangeline Buell

Evangeline Buell
Interviewer: Robin Li
Date of Interview: 6/10/2011

Evangeline Buell, born in 1932, vividly recounts life in a multiracial West Oakland neighborhood in the 1940s and 1950s. She describes the tightness of the Filipino overseas community, happy cultural exchanges with Italian, Portugese, African American, Japanese and Mexican neighbors, and the devastating sadness of the Japanese wartime incarceration. Also discussed is her family’s extensive military service, her step grandmother’s work in the Richmond shipyards, and the changing racial politics of the East Bay. Also available in The Bancroft Library, Evangeline Buell’s memoir Twenty-five Chickens and a Pig for a Bride.

Photo of Patricia Buls
Patricia Buls
Interviewer: Kathryn Stine
Date of Interview: 2/12/2003

Patricia Buls was born and raised in Iowa, and moved to the Bay Area in 1942 to be with her husband. In this interview, Ms. Buls discusses wartime housing, wartime work as a draftsman, learning about people from other cultures and racism, being a woman in the shipyards and changing womens roles, raising a family, and participating in Kaisers early health plan.
Photo of Olga Byrd

Olga Byrd [Transcript in progress]
Interviewer: David Dunham
Date of Interview: 8/17/2010

Olga Byrd was born November 27th, 1925 in the North Beach District of San Francisco. She attended Balboa High School, and during her junior year, she volunteered to pick tomatoes for the Red Cross as part of the war effort. After graduating from high school, she worked as a secretary for a Procurement Officer at the Federal Public Housing Authority, which housed Shipyard workers in Hunter’s Point, Richmond, and Albany. She went on to get married and have children, working for the City of Concord after the war ended.

Photo of Don and Lucy Campbell
Don and Lucy Campbell
Interviewer: Sam Redman
Date of Interview: 2/8/2012

Don Campbell was born in 1923 in Oakland, CA. Lucy Campbell was born in 1926 in San Francisco, CA. In this joint interview, Don and Lucy speak about their early childhood in the Bay Area—the opening of the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges—the World’s Fair on Treasure Island and going to college at Berkeley. Don joined the ROTC at Berkeley during World War II and eventually served in Patton’s Third Army in the European Theatre. Lucy remained at Berkeley, and recalls campus life during the war and the arrival of men in uniform. Their interview paints a vivid picture of the Bay Area’s changing landscape during World War II. After their wedding, Don and Lucy would eventually settle in Berkeley and become active contributors to the Bancroft Library. They have six children.

Photo of Edward Carrasco

Edward Carrasco
Interviewer: Jess Rigelhaupt
Date of Interview: 6/18/2008

Edward Carrasco was born in El Paso, Texas. He moved to Oakland when he was seventeen, in order to get a job in the Kaiser shipyards with his brother. While there he got a draft notice, but was deferred after a physical examination and later joined the Coast Guard. He tells of the Mexican American communities in El Paso and Oakland, reactions to the Zoot Suit Riots in Los Angeles, and socializing in the dance halls of Oakland. He remembers working as a driller in the Kaiser shipyards, meeting his wife at work, and the diversity that the shipyards brought together. Carrasco also discusses the dangers of work at the shipyards, playing dice on the train to Richmond, and reactions to the internment of Japanese Americans.

Mary Ann Ceminski
Mary Ann Ceminski
Interviewer: Esther Ehrlich
Date of Interview: 6/23/2003

Mary Anne Ceminski was raised in Colorado and moved to Kansas to attend college. She got her first teaching job in Kansas and then, during the war, resettled in Richmond, where she initially worked in the shipyards before returning to teaching. She taught elementary school during and after the war. Discusses: impressions of Richmond, working in the office at shipyard, including meeting Henry Kaiser, Nystrom Elementary School, racial issues within the classroom and beyond, social activities in Richmond.
Photo of Eleth Lee Chappat

Eleth Lee Chappat
Interviewer: Sarah Selvidge
Date of Interview: 8/11/2010

Eleth Lee Chappet was born and raised in Southern California. After the attack at Pearl Harbor and the construction of shipyards in the Bay Area, her father taught her how to weld so she could begin working as a welder at age 17. She talks about her experiences growing up in the post-Depression years, moving to San Francisco, meeting her husband, ]the work environment of the shipyards, and the aftermath of the Port Chicago Explosion. After her welding job ended, she waited tables at the Port Chicago restaurant, going on to pursue a career at the American Can before becoming a SamTrans bus driver.

Photo of Lou Annie Charles
Lou Annie Charles
Interviewer: Robin Li
Date of Interview: 5/16/2012

Lou Annie Charles was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma in 1922. In this interview, she describes growing up in the segregated South and being recruited by the National Youth Association to work for Boeing out of high school. After training as a mechanic, welder and riveter with the National Youth Administration, Charles worked as a bucker and mechanic for Boeing at a plant in Wichita, Kansas. In her interview, Charles talks about the importance of wartime work in helping her family emerge from the depression. She describes moving to Seattle after the war and finding work in the post-war era as a riveter at Boeing in Seattle and Everett.

 
Sal Chavez
Interviewer: David Washburn
Date of Interview: 10/22-25/2002

Born and raised in Santa Fe Railroad housing off lower Macdonald Avenue in Richmond. Chávez worked for local industries, such as the Santa Fe Railroad, American Radiator and Standard, Filice and Perreli Cannery, and Kaiser shipyards. During the war he served with the US Coast Guard, and later started a career as a barber. His interview offers a unique perspective into the history of Richmond's longtime Mexican community. Discusses: life of the employees of the Santa Fe Railroad, Mexican culture in Richmond, social relations (dating) in Richmond schools, race relations. Audio only.
Photo of Maria Chidester
Maria Chidester [Transcript in progress]
Interviewer: David Dunham
Date of Interview: 12/29/2011

 

Anita Christiansen and Mary Highfill
Anita Christiansen and Mary Highfill
Interviewer: Nadine Wilmot
Date of Interview: 2/7/2005

Anita Christiansen and Mary Highfil are lifelong friends, both from Italian-American families, who have lived in Point Richmond all their lives. The interview focuses on their wartime activities with the USO, living and working in Richmond, and changes in the city.
Photo of Betty Coates

Betty Coates [Transcript in progress]
Interviewer: Sam Redman
Date of Interview: 2/1/2011

Born in California in 1925, Betty Coates worked for Convair in San Diego and United Engineering Shipyards in Alameda during World War II. Part of a cohort of young women training in engineering at Stanford University, she vividly recalls the transition into the wartime workforce. In this interview, Coates discusses everyday life growing up in California, trips to San Francisco, and her coursework in math and engineering between high school and her experience in a War Training Course. She also describes her feelings at the end of the war and the personal and professional transitions experienced at the end of the war.

Photo of Grahame Crichton Coffey
Grahame Crichton Coffey
Interviewer: Jess Rigelhaupt
Date of Interview: 6/19/2012

Grahame Crichton Coffey was born in 1921 and raised in central Illinois. She graduated Southern Illinois University in 1943 and immediately joined the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES). After her training at Smith College and Mout Holyoke College, she was stationed in San Francisco until World War II ended. She worked for the Navy for an additional year in Washington, D.C. and then joined the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). She had a long career in the CIA and was stationed in London and Frankfurt. She discusses growing up in central Illinois, race relations in central Illinois, the Great Depression, her work in the WAVES and military activity in San Francisco, and her career and family after World War II.

Photo of Mary K. Cohen
Mary K. Cohen
Interviewer: David Dunham
Date of Interview: 12/28/2012

Mary Cohen describes her childhood in the Bronx during the Depression and her experiences doing home front war work during World War II as a riveter for Grumman in New Jersey. She recounts her siblings’ disabilities and the deaths of her parents after working in difficult times. Mary recalls the start of the war, rationing, her work alongside her sister as a riveter. Mary moved to California during the war and joined the Army, serving as a recruiter. Near the end of the war, Mary worked on B-29s in Arizona, continuing her lifelong love of airplanes and flying.
Photo of Peggy Cook
Peggy Cook
Interviewer: Robin Li
Date of Interview: 2/16/2012

Peggy Cook, born in 1924, share stories of life during the depression in the rural Pacific Northwest. Beginning work as a laborer on the river at fifteen, Cook narrates a childhood of strong values around charity, compassion, hardwork, and a love of reading. After Pearl Harbor, Cook found work as a net weaver in the US Navy factory on Indian Island, across the bay from Port Townsend, WA. When her husband returned from his service in the Navy, the family settled in Port Angeles. Cook’s narrative provides vivid descriptions of gender dynamics in the workplace, class and race dynamics in the pre and postwar North, and rural life during the Great Depression.

Photo of Dorothy Cordova
Dorothy Cordova
Interviewer: Robin Li
Date of Interview: 1/6/2012

Dorothy Cordova was born in Seattle, Washington on February 6, 1932, and was the first member of her family to be born in the United States. Her father, Valeriano Laigo, immigrated to the United States from the Philippines in 1919 at the age of eighteen. Her mother came to the United States in 1928. In her oral history Cordova recalls many topics, ranging from the murder of her father at the age of four, to attending Catholic missionary school with primarily Japanese. In addition, Cordova also speaks about her experiences growing up as a Filipino-American during the Great Depression, the Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor and the Philippines, and the vivid memories of her Japanese friends from missionary school leaving to the internment camps during World War II. She also gives wonderful insight into American schools in the Philippines, the growth of Seattle during the war, and the assimilation of Filipinos into American culture after the war in the Pacific. The interview was conducted by Robin Li.

Mary Lou Cordova
Mary Lou Cordova
Interviewer: David Washburn
Date of Interview: 11/1/2002

Born in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Cordova came to Richmond with her parents during the war. Her father found work at Standard Oil. The family moved into war housing off Cutting Blvd. and 40th, later buying a home nearby. Cordova, still a teen when she arrived, entered high school and frequently found friends at local recreation halls. Settled in San Pablo after the war. Discusses: growing up in New Mexico, moving to Richmond, social relations at school and rec halls, attending dances, race relations, attending St. Mark's Church.
Willie Mae Cotright
Willie Mae Cotright
Interviewer: Judith Dunning
Date of Interview: 11/1/2002, 12/13/2002

Willie Mae Cotright is interviewed here jointly with Hubert Webster, also interviewed as part of this series. She was born and raised in Lousiana, and came to Richmond in search of wartime work with her husband as a young woman. In this interview, she talks about housing and work in Richmond during World War II, and discusses her life after the war. She and her husband ran the Cotright corner store, one of the first African American-owned businesses in Richmond, as well her involvement with the local NAACP chapter. She and Mr. Webster also discuss the effects of Richmond industry on the health of their family members.
Photo of Pat Cross

Pat Cross
Interviewer: Sam Redman
Date of Interview: 4/3/2012

Pat Cross was born on Saint Patrick’s Day, 1926 in Normal, Illinois. In this interview, she describes her childhood growing up in Normal before the start of the Second World War. Following a six-month training program at the University of Minnesota, Pat worked as a radar engineering aide at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio. She describes her recollection of the training program and her memories of working at Wright Field. Following the war, she completed her doctorate at the University of Illinois before teaching and serving as an administrator at Cornell University, Harvard University, and the University of California, Berkeley.

Emily Decory
Emily DeCory
Interviewer: Elizabeth Castle
Date of Interview: 4/13/2005

Emily DeCory was born and raised in the Encinal village on the Laguna Pueblo reservation. She moved to the Santa Fe Indian Village when she was just three years old along with her family. The village was established as a colony of the Laguna Pueblo and elected its own governor and tribal council. DeCory’s father, Tom Ahmie, served as first governor of the Laguna people in the colony and was re-elected for three times. He worked as a blacksmith for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad Company. She discusses her life as a Laguna living between the reservation and the advantages offered by urban life. She remembers how they first lived in passenger cars of the train and later were set up by the railroad company in boxcars fashioned as living quarters. She describes the conditions living in the backyard of the Standard Oil Company and the effects of the smoke that blew over the village causing health problems. DeCory eventually returned to live in the Encinal Villlage.
Photo of Albert Del Masso

Albert Del Masso
Interviewer: David Dunham
Date of Interview: 12/15/2011

Albert Del Masso describes his difficult childhood in the East Bay, his mother’s travails, and his brothers’ war experiences. He describes his service experience at the end of the war, including postwar occupation of Japan. He provides outspoken views on war and trust in government. He concludes with memories of business experiences after the war.

Leona Derheim
Leona Derheim
Interviewer: Kathryn Stine
Date of Interview: 11/5/2002

Leona Derheim was born and raised in Berkeley and attended Berkeley High School. In this interview, she talks about growing up in Berkeley, playing saxophone in an all-girl band, her work at Southern Pacific, and the Bay Area during World War II.
Jeffrey Dickemann
Photo of Mildred and Margaret Dickemann

Jeffrey Dickemann [formerly Mildred Dickemann]
Interviewer: David Dunham
Date of Interview: 6/16/2011, 10/27/2011

Jeffrey Dickemann describes growing up as a girl in Hawaii, prior to World War II, as well as Salt Lake City and New York City during and after the war. He relates some of the experiences before and during the war period that reflected and helped him understand his sexual orientation. He describes the Depression, his father’s transfer from Pearl Harbor just before the bombing, working in the Women's Land Army in the summer as a teen during the war, rationing Victory Gardens, films, newsreels, and patriotism.  He describes his developing interest in civil rights during the sixties, including experiences teaching at Merritt Junior College and leading a student group with future Black Panthers, including Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. Dickemann also discusses teaching at the University of Kansas, starting a branch of CORE [Congress of Racial Equality], and experiences with CORE in Louisiana. Also discusses his research in Native American education in Oklahoma. See also from the Gay Bears Oral History Project: Coming to Cal, 1950: oral history transcript / Mildred Dickemann; an interview conducted by William Benemann in 1996. The University Archives, The Bancroft Library, University of California, 1997.
CU-484.1 no.1

Photo of David Dibble

David Dibble
Interviewer: Jess Rigelhaupt
Date of Interview: 5/28/2008

David Dibble was born in San Francisco and moved as a young boy to Woodside. Still a teenager, he worked on the homefront during World War II, finally ending up at Standard Oil. He talks about life during the Depression, long walks to Menlo Park, and train rides to San Francisco. He remembers rationing during World War II, the local response to Pearl Harbor, and the lack of concern for the danger of his work. He tells of racial attitudes toward Japanese and Japanese Americans and the effect of media coverage of war on those at home.

O'neil Dillon and Ruth Hoffman

O'Neil Dillon and Ruth Hoffman
Interviewer: Sam Redman
Date of Interview: 3/31/2011

Born and raised in the Chicago area, Ruth Hoffman graduated from University of Chicago with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. In this interview, she discusses traveling to Iowa via bicycle before moving to Richmond, California to work in the Kaiser Shipyards, where she starts off as a welder only to become a teacher and eventually director of the Maritime Childcare center. She also discusses the work-environment of the shipyard, her experiences in the childcare center, the innovation of the shipyard health plan, and her life after WWII. O’Neil S. Dillon was born July 12, 1940 in Los Angeles. While his parents worked at the Kaiser Shipyards, he would stay at the childcare center under the care of Hoffman. Dillon also discusses his mother’s involvement with the Women’s Garment Movement, his father’s UC education, and his own pursuit of a career in Medicine.

Photo of Othro Drew

Othro Drew
Interviewer: Sam Redman
Date of Interview: 6/21/2012, 7/17/2012

Born in Coffeyville, Kansa, Othro Drew lived with his grandmother in Oklahoma until he was twelve years old, at which time he migrated to California to live with his mother who worked in the Kaiser Shipyards but ended up living with his uncles in Berkeley and Stockton. In this interview, Drew discusses his experiences of encountering racism, Japanese Americans, racism, and segretation. He also recalls the differences in curriculum in California and Oklahoma, Pearl Harbor, Nagasaki and Hiroshima, and Port Chicago. He goes on to comment on desegregation, Civil Rights, his involvement in the Congress on Racial Equity, police brutality against non-whites in the Bay Area, the Black Panthers, and the overall struggle to improve social conditions for blacks in America following World War Two.

Mary Droullard

Mary Droullard
Interviewer: Robin Li
Date of Interview: 2/24/2012

Mary Jane Todd Droullard was born in Arkansas in 1920. In this interview, she discusses her early childhood in the South, moving to Seattle with her mother and siblings, and life in Seattle in the 1930s and 40s. She recounts blackouts following Pearl Harbor, working as a riveter at Boeing, moving to Associated Shipyards as a welder, government-provided childcare. Droullard offers vivid descriptions of welding together British minesweepers, including the perils of being a women welder during the war years, including physical hazards and aggressive male coworkers.

Ned Duran
Ned and Emma Duran
Interviewer: David Washburn
Date of Interview: 11/5/2002

Raised in a small mining town in southern Colorado. Duran was part of Colorado's Conservation Corps during the 1930s. By the beginning of World War II he was enlisted in the Army's First Cavalry Division, stationed in Texas and Oregon, and served in North Africa. Recruited by Kaiser to work in Portland shipyards, he later came to Richmond, where his brothers were employed by Kaiser. After the war, he settled in Richmond, where he worked for the post office. Discusses: growing up in Colorado, serving in the CC camps and Army; racism in Colorado, Texas, and the Army; coming to Richmond, meeting wife, Richmond's Mexican community, employment after war, buying home in Richmond.
Photo of Evelyn Duran and Rose Silvas
Evelyn Duran and Rose Silvas [Gonzalez sisters]
Interviewer: David Washburn
Date of Interview: 10/30/2002

Sisters from Phoenix, Arizona, they came with seven other siblings to work in Richmond's shipyards. Prior to getting married, all of the Gonzalez sisters moved into a home together. Discuss: Coming to Richmond, adjusting to life in Richmond, working in the shipyards, relations within the family, Mexican Baptists in Richmond.
Photo of Martin Easton
Martin Easton
Interviewer: Javier Arbona
Date of Interview: 3/30/2011

Martin Easton relates his experiences growing up in northern Contra Costa County and going to college at College of the Pacific and UC Berkeley. He recalls his youth working in the hay fields and at oil refineries, relates experiences paying football and baseball in college and thereafter, and describes his work experience in real estate. He recounts the aftermath of the explosion at Port Chicago and the racism of the times. He comments on global economics, foreign policy, political issues, and religion.

Photo of Bruce Elliott

Bruce Elliott
Interviewer: Julie Stein
Date of Interview: 8/13/2010

Born in Minneapolis in 1942, Bruce Elliot moved to Berkeley at age five with his family, traveling via automobile. His family immediately became involved with local churches, namely the First Congressional Church, the First Presbyterian Church, and the Epworth Methodist Church. In this interview, Elliot recalls working in the Kaiser Shipyards as a driver and an electrician’s assistant and his participation in the Kaiser health plan for shipyard workers. He also discusses housing for employees, his experience starting a family in employee housing, and life after WWII.

Photo of Dorothy Eng

Dorothy Eng
Interviewer: Robin Li
Date of Interview: 6/9/2011

Dorothy Eng was born in San Francisco in 1923. In this interview, she discusses her childhood in the mostly white town of Emeryville, and then her family’s move to Oakland Chinatown and the sense of community she found there. Eng describes the important role played by churches of Chinatown both in terms of building community and supporting philanthropic endeavors. Eng was a founding member of the Young Women’s Chinese Society, an organization chartered to welcome and host Chinese American soldiers as they passed through the Bay Area on their way to the war in the Pacific. She describes their Saturday hospitality nights, as well as what the events meant for both the soldiers and the society volunteers. Eng offers vivid accounts of racial oppression and the fears of wartime life. A widow with two small children, Eng also recounts the struggles of postwar life, as well as the sense of purpose found in helping others, particularly through the reinvention of the Young Women’s Chinese Society as a scholarship organization helping Chinese girls attend college.

Photo of Edyth Esser

Edythe "Edie" Esser
Interviewer: Sam Redman
Date of Interview: 1/24/2011

Edythe Esser was born in San Pablo, California in 1922. Edythe worked in prefabrication in the Kaiser Shipyards during the war. She discusses applying and training at the shipyards; swing shift; worker apparel; Kaiser health plan during war; romance at the shipyards; and difficulty accepting the end of war work. Selections from her interview were featured on ABC-7 KGO News.

Photo of Margaret Fahrenholtz

Margaret Fahrenholtz
Interviewer: Jess Rigelhaupt
Date of Interview: 6/11/2008

Margaret Fahrenholtz grew up on a farm just north of Great Falls, Montana and moved to Richmond in 1941 to help her aunt with child care. Eventually, she worked there at the War Manpower Commission. She discusses harvest time on the farm in Montana, and her parents’ support for the rest of the family during the Depression. She recounts the local reaction in Richmond to the attack on Pearl Harbor and feelings about the internment of Japanese Americans. We also hear of reactions to the use of atomic bombs in Japan and her being reunited with her brothers who served overseas.

Louis Fantin
Louis Fantin
Interviewer: David Dunham
Date of Interview: 11/12/2002

Louis Fantin was born in Colorado and followed his older sister to the Bay Area after he completed high school. He worked as a welder in the shipyards in Richmond until he was drafted into the Army where he served in the war in Europe. When the War ended, he returned to Richmond and began working at Standard Oil. In this interview he talks about Richmond during and after the War, his participation time as a soldier and the Battle of the Bulge, and attitudes around race, ethnicity, and gender.
Stella Faria
Stella Faria
Interviewer: Judith Dunning
Date of Interview: 3/6/2003

Stella Faria was born and raised in Pinole, California. Her family was from Portugal, via Brazil. She remembers Richmond during World War II, especially the changing worlds of work, school, and family. She talks about her consternation at the internment of the Japanese in the area, including classmates and people she had grown with all of her life. She remembers her work in the Kaiser Shipyards, in the administrative office of Yard Three and recalls the Port Chicago explosion. She also remembers the environmental toxicity of the wartime industries and discusses the impacts of Richmond industry on the health of her family members.
Photo of Bud Figueroa
Bud Figueroa
Date of Interview: 10/25/06
Interviewer: Nadine Wilmot

Bud Figueroa is a native Californian, raised in the Eastlake and Fruitvale neighborhoods of Oakland. He began his career as a salesman in the jewelry business; he moved to Sacramento and then returned to the Bay Area to work in the shipyards during World War II. In this interview, Figueroa tells of his life as a social dancer, a jewelry salesman, a war =time fundraiser and seller of bonds, and an entrepreneur. We also learn about ethnic identity, class, and mobility in California during the first part of the 20th century.
Photo of Tybie Flapan

Tybie Flapan
Date of Interview: 8/7/2010
Interviewer: Sarah Selvidge

Tillie Flapan was born June 4th, 1917. In this interview, she talks about her experiences growing up Jewish in a Jewish neighborhood, life before and after the war, her and her family’s response to concentration camps, and settling down in the Berkeley/Oakland area. She and her first husband met at a dance hall before WWII, and after they married, he was drafted into the Army. She moved in with her grandmother in Boyle Heights and found work as a riveter for Lockheed in California, despite her negative feelings towards the political aspects of the war. She ends the interview commenting on the changes to the Bay Area that came with the rise of the freeway system.

Photo of Denise Fleig

Denise Fleig
Interviewer: Jess Rigelhaupt
Date of Interview: 7/9/2008

Denise Fleig was born in Berkeley, and moved between Oakland and her grandmother’s house in Middletown, Lake County, for much of her childhood. After marrying in 1943, she and her husband moved to San Francisco. In this interview, she tells how her grandmother came to California on a covered wagon. She recounts the inventions and schemes her father, a brick mason, thought up to try to earn money for her mother and their seven children during the Depression. She describes school as a refuge from the troubles of home life during the Depression. We hear in vivid detail about working as a welder in the Kaiser shipyards in Richmond and the friends from various parts of the country she made on the ferry to work from San Francisco. Topics covered also include racial and ethnic attitudes; prejudice against migrants from Arkansas and Oklahoma; the dangers of working in the shipyards; sexism in the workplace and at the university; attitudes about unions; and her dreams of becoming a labor mediator.

Photo of Sharon Fogelson

Sharon Fogelson
Interviewer: Sam Redman
Date of Interview: 4/4/2012

Sharon Fogelson was born in Salt Lake City, Utah during World War II. Soon after graduating from college with a degree in Speech Therapy from San Francisco State University, she became a teacher at one of Richmond’s childcare development centers. In this interview, she explains her background and training as well as her earliest impressions of the school and other faculty. Fogelson would eventually rise to the position of Head Teacher at the Pullman School. In this interview, she shares memories of teaching including descriptions of her colleagues, memories of particular students, and descriptions of the rapidly changing demographics of the Bay Area in the post-war era.

Photo of Eloise Fong

Eloise Fong
Interviewer: Robin Li
Date of Interview: 11/8/2011

Eloise Fong describes her early childhood in San Francisco, her return to China at age six, her experience of the Japanese invasion of China, and her return via ship to the US in 1938, to Bakersfield, CA. She recalls working on her father’s farm as a child and her father selling produce to Chinese families. She recalls wrapping oranges at an unheated warehouse during the winter. She then describes being hired as a sheet metal trimmer at Lockheed at age 17 and receiving Valentine notes from men overseas as a result of writing her name under the B-17 wings she was helping produce. She describes singing to raise money to send to China and buying war bonds. She discusses moving to San Francisco’s Chinatown after the war and working in a shop, then encountering discrimination in moving to Oakland and then San Mateo to raise her family.

Photo of John Fong

John H. Fong
Interviewer: Robin Li
Date of Interview: 11/8/2011

John H. Fong was born in San Francisco, CA, January 24, 1929. The son of Chinese immigrants, Fong recalls his life growing up in Chinatown where his family owned a bakery and grocery store. During the Pan Pacific Expedition in 1939 Mr. Fong’s family opened a Chinese restaurant on Treasure Island, and he describes the excitement he had seeing exhibits from around the world. His brother, the only Asian to serve in his Army unit, was awarded the Bronze Star while fighting in the European Campaign during World War II. As a Chinese American growing up in San Francisco Fong gives detailed accounts of Chinese perspectives of the Japanese relocation, rice bowl parties during Madame Chiang’s visit and the vibrant nightlife of Chinatown after the war.

Photo of Reverend Willie Ford
Reverend Willie Ford
Date of Interview: 8/4/2006
Interviewer: Nadine Wilmot

Reverend Willie Ford is an associate minister at the North Richmond Missionary Baptist Church, the oldest African American church in Richmond. Born in Louisiana, he came from a farming and railroad family. He traveled to Detroit and New York and then, after World War II, joined his mother and father and siblings in Richmond, where they had migrated for wartime work. He worked as a streetcar operator, airplane technician, and dry cleaner. He also was a musician and avid social dancer who danced at the Savoy in Harlem and throughout Detroit and California. In his interview, he discusses his life and times; the racial discrimination his family faced in the South and that he faced on the job in Detroit; a changing Richmond, and his role at the North Richmond Missionary Baptist Church.
Matilda Foster
Matilda Foster
Interviewers: David Washburn; Lok, Tiffany
Date of Interview: 3/16/2005

Matilda Foster is from Arkansas. She came to California to work in the shipyards. She was active in her church community, in local Democratic politics, and in the Richmond chapter of the NAACP as it worked to desegregate residential neighborhoods in Richmond in the postwar era.
Marion Gabler
Marion Gabler
Interviewers: Julie Stein
Date of Interview: 8/24/2010

Marion Gabler recalls farm life growing up during the Depression and then describes her war work at a bomber plant. She recounts life as one of several illegitimate children going to two schools each year as she moved between her mother and grandparents. She provides memories of life during the war – training, dorm life, riveting, meeting her husband and getting married. She recalls her husband’s experience being 4-F during the war.
Warren G. Gaines

Warren G. Gaines
Interviewer: Sam Redman
Dates of Interview: 6/21/2012, 7/17/2012

Warren G. Gaines was born in Goodnight, Oklahoma. He recalls riding trains to California and encountering people from many walks of life being forced into poverty. During WWII, he was part of the Civilian Conservation Corps, specifically the National Youth Association, in San Pablo, California. After leaving the camp, he worked as an aircraft mechanic at Mather Field and then in construction only to be drafted in 1942 into the Ninth Cavalry Division as part of the Signal Corps. In this interview, he discusses segregation, desegregation, Civil Rights, and the GI Bill.


Maggie Gee
Maggie Gee
Interviewer: Leah McGarrigle; Robin Li; Kathryn Stine
Date of Interview: 4/10/2003, 4/29/2003, 5/20/2003

Beginning in March 2003, a team of ROHO interviewers conducted a series of four interviews with Berkeley resident Maggie Gee. The team consisted of Leah McGarrigle and Kathryn Stine, ROHO interviewers, and Robin Li, a graduate student working with ROHO. Gee was chosen by ROHO and the Rosie Project for a number of reasons. Her stories represent two generations of "Rosies" -- her mother, Ah Yoke Gee, had worked as a welder in the Richmond wartime factories, and Maggie herself had also worked in the factories, as a draftswoman at Mare Island, and also flew with the WASPs, testing planes and flying transport missions. Since that period, she has maintained an active presence in local Democratic politics, and is able to provide long-term perspectives on Berkeley politics and Chinese Americans in the Berkeley area. The interview provides much-needed perspectives on extra-Chinatown Chinese American communities, interracial community-building in Berkeley, and women in the workforce and local politics. Maggie Gee also shares amazing stories of her love of flight, training to become a pilot, and what the experience meant to her in terms of class, gender, and politics.
Mora Gilley
Mora Gilley
Interviewer: Robin Li
Date of Interview: 12/22/2011

Mora Gilley describes her childhood in Pennsylvania during the Depression and her experiences doing homefront war work during World War II. She recounts her difficulties balancing school and taking care of her family after the death of her mother. She recalls the start of the war, rationing, her aunt’s internment in the Phillipines, working to assemble bombs in Akron, OH, moving bricks for the Pennsylvania Railroad, and working at the Bremerton, WA Navy Yard. She finishes with her views on the influence of war work on women’s subsequent role in the workplace.

Photo of Joe Gomes
Joe Gomes
Date of Interview: 6/2/06
Interviewer: Nadine Wilmot

Joe Gomes' parents came to the United States from Portugal in the early 20th century, arriving first in New York, making their way to San Jose and settling in San Pablo, where Mr. Gomes now resides. Mr. Gomes was 90 at the time of this interview, and a leader in his community. He is past director of the San Pablo Holy Ghost Association, past state president of the Luso-American Fraternal Federation, and currently sits on the San Pablo City Council. In this interview, he chronicles his family background, his years growing up in San Pablo, the Portuguese community in San Pablo, the shift to and then away from wartime work during his years at American Standard, working in the shipyards, changing gender roles during wartime work, raising a family, and his work on the city council. The interview offers insight into immigrant identity and experience, a changing San Pablo, and the Bay Area home front during WWII.
Frank Gonzalez
Frank Gonzalez
Interviewer: David Washburn
Date of Interview: 10/28/2002

Born in the Mexican state of Sonora, Gonzalez came with his parents to Arizona in the early 1920s. He followed friends to Richmond, where he worked in the shipyards, eventually working his way up to leaderman and then foreman despite his limited English. Eight of his siblings also came to Richmond, where they all worked for Kaiser. Gonzalez later owned a local Mexican market, and then opened a popular restaurant, which still exists. He discusses coming to the United States, working in Arizona, coming to Richmond, working at the Kaiser shipyards, running his business after the war, and being a Mexican Baptist in Richmond.
Gould, Phyllis
Phyllis Gould
Interviewer: Brendan Furey
Dates of Interview: 10/7/2002, 10/11/2002

Phyllis Gould migrated to Richmond from a logging community in Oregon, in 1938. After attending welding school, Gould was one of the first women accepted into the boilermakers union after several attempts. As a journeywoman welder, she earned $1.25 an hour. In many ways, this financial independence contributed to her early divorce with her teenage husband.
Photo of Alfred Granzella
Alfred Granzella
Date of Interview: 7/20/06
Interviewer: Nadine Wilmot

Alfred Granzella grew up in Richmond and attended Richmond public schools. His parents migrated here from Italy in 1911 and 1921 respectively, met and married here, and raised their family in Richmond. In this interview, he tells about growing about in Richmond, serving in the Navy during World War II as a teenager, and working for the telephone company for most of his professional life. This interview offers insights into immigrant identity and experience, a changing Contra Costa County as experienced from the perspective of expanding telephone infrastructure and technology and real estate development, the disbanding of the telephone monopoly in California, perspectives on the Port Chicago explosion and mutiny, and the Bay Area home front during WWII.
Photo of Norma Gray

Norma Gray
Date of Interview: 5/10/2011
Interviewer: Sam Redman

Norma Gray was born in Iowa and moved to Berkeley, CA, in 1936. She recalls the hardships of the Depression years, and her life as a UC Berkeley student. Ms. Gray talks about the Bay Area in the 1930s and 1940s, and about her work on the Manhattan Project as a blueprint courier.

Photo of Robert Gray

Robert Gray
Date of Interview: 7/24/2012
Interviewer: Sam Redman

Robert Gray was born September 15th, 1921. During the beginning of WWII, he attended the University of Colorado, Boulder. Shortly after graduation, he found work as a ship fitter in the Vancouver Shipyards. In this interview, he talks about the 1933 World’s Fair, his family’s businesses, their politics, the increase of military presence at the University of Colorado, Italian, German, and Japanese detainment camps, encounters with women in the workforce, and exposures to anti-black racism. After the war, he worked with Chevron Research and settled down in the Richmond, California area. He ends the interview by emphasizing that rationing was the most drastic difference between life before and life during the war.

Thomas Griffith and D. Wayne White
Thomas Griffith and D. Wayne White
Interviewer: David Dunham
Date of Interview: 2/4/2003

Thomas Griffith and D. Wayne White were childhood friends who were in their late seventies at the time of their interview. They reminisce about growing up and going to school in Richmond, and talk about how prejudice played itself out in their social groups and terrain from their perspectives as two white men. They discuss the war's presence in their young lives, and afterward, when they joined the Army. This interview follows their lives before, through, and after the war.
Genie Hansen

Genie Hansen
Interviewer: David Dunham
Date of Interview: 8/11/2011

Betty Gene “Genie” Hansen was born in San Francisco before moving to Southern California. After living in Glendale, Hollywood, and other parts of the Los Angeles area, she married a prospective Seabee and found work for the California Shipbuilding Corporation at the Terminal Island docks, where she, being the only woman on her work crew, scavenged for parts. In this interview, Hansen recollects her experience being the only woman on her work crew, comments on romance in the workplace, remembers having her tonsils removed under Navy insurance, and reflects on the end of the war.

Betty Hardison

Betty Hardison
Interviewer: Sarah Selvidge
Date of Interview: 7/14/2010

Betty Hardison describes growing up in Calistoga, CA during the Depression and the impact of the Depression on wineries in the area. She remembers the start of the war, blackouts, rationing, Victory gardens. She recounts moving to the Bay Area and going to work during World War II at the Kaiser shipyards and then for the Housing Authority as a secretary. She describes meeting and working with her husband and their life during and after the war in Richmond, including her lifelong work with the Richmond Art Center.

Don Hardison
Don Hardison
Interviewer: Jess Rigelhaupt
Date of Interview: 3/10/2003

Don Hardison moved to Richmond during WWII to work as an architect in the Kaiser shipyards. In his interview he discusses life in Richmond, the shipyards, living at Atchison Village during the war, and later designing Easter Hill Village.
Photo of Judy Hart, Judy Hart, Superintendent, Women’s Rights National Historical, 1983
Judy Hart [transcript in progress]
Interviewer: Richard Cándida Smith
Date of Interviews: 2/9/2005, 10/16/05, 10/18/05

Judy Hart, founding superintendent of the Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front National Historical Park, details the steps involved in creating the park from its legislative inception in 2000 to her retirement in 2005.  Hart also discusses her previous duties in the National Park Service, including her work as founding superintendent of the Women's Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, New York.
Fay Hawkins
Fay Hawkins
Interviewer: Sarah Wheelock
Date of Interview: 6/2/2003

Fay Hawkins worked for the Richmond Police Department from 1946 until the early 1970s. His father was with the police department from the 1920s until 1941. Topics discussed include police practices of the 1920s and 1940s, Fay's views as a long-term resident of the city, several interesting calls that he went on, and his experiences as he moved up through the ranks of the department to Lieutenant.
Mary Head
Mary Head
Interviewers: David Washburn; Susie Dodge
Date of Interview: 4/4/2005

Mary "Peace" Head worked as a welder in the shipyards and lived in Parchester Village. She talks about working in the shipyards, migrating to the Bay Area from Louisiana, and race relations in Richmond.

Shirley Henderson
Shirley Henderson [Transcript in progress]
Interviewers: Travis Thompson
Date of Interview: 4/3/2012

Born in Berkeley, Shirley Henderson moved around with her family to Arizona, Ohio, Washington, D.C., and finally back to Berkeley. Her father was a mining engineer who also worked for the government doing zeppelin research until the Hindenburg incident, after which he worked for Standard Oil at the Richmond Refinery. Shirley recalls her childhood dietary and clothing habits. She goes on to discuss her experiences at Cal, including the Japanese evacuation and how she met her husband and subsequently decided to join the First Congressional Church. Later in life, she wrote about the involvement of the First Congressional Church in the Japanese evacuation. She recalls her family’s involvement with WWII, specifically her father’s work as a propeller designer and her mother’s work with the USO. The interview ends with Shirley’s thoughts on the involvement in and influence of women in the Church, focusing on the First Congressional Church.

Marcia Henning
Marcia Henning
Interviewers: Sam Redman
Date of Interview: 4/12/2011

Born in San Luis Obispo, Marcia Henning moved to southern California at a young age. She describes her father’s work in the lumber industry before the Great Depression. In her interview, she describes, in detail, growing up in Oakland before the start of the war. Her interview describes experiences with New Deal agencies including the CCC and WPA. She provides insights into the significance of the opening of a new series of bridges in the Bay Area. This interview also explores Henning’s memories of rationing, blackouts, and unity during the war. Henning served as a volunteer for the Red Cross, encouraging those in the Bay Area to donate blood.

Photo of Ivan Herbert

Ivan Herbert
Interviewers: Javier Arbona
Date of Interview: 11/2/2011

Ivan Herbert relates memories of his childhood on the farm in Louisiana (including the murder of his father), entering the Navy and being based at Port Chicago. He describes experiences during the war in the Bay Area, including violence in Oakland, prejudice, gambling and his solitary life on the base. He recalls experiencing the explosion from the barracks and its aftermath. He then talks about his return to Louisiana after the war and then going back to California to start an egg farm.

Photo of Bertha Hicks

Bertha Hicks
Interviewers: Sam Redman
Date of Interview: 5/24/2011

Bertha Hicks was born to a Laguna mother and Acoma father, and spent her early years in New Mexico. Her father worked for the Santa Fe Railroad brought the family to Richmond. Mrs. Hicks reflects on her experiences at an Albuquerque, NM boarding school, her early married years in Arizona, and her career with Bechtel. As an American Indian of two tribes who married a Navajo man, Mrs. Hicks has a unique and nuanced perspective on American Indian politics and social issues.

Reverend Ross Hidy
Reverend Ross Hidy
Interviewers: Richard Cándida Smith
Date of Interviews: 12/1/2004, 12/15/2004

Ross Hidy served as pastor for the Harbor Gate ecumenical ministry from 1943 to 1947.  He discusses the work of his and other ministries in serving the spiritual needs of war industry workers, many living far from their original homes.  His wife, Evelyn Hidy, who participated in the Harbor Gate ministry as the pastor's wife and as a Sunday school teacher, joins the interview for approximately 30 minutes. 
Virgil & Mildred Hooper
Virgil and Mildred Hooper
Interviewer: Judith Dunning
Date of Interview: 2/12/2003

Mildred and Virgil Hooper had been married 64 years at the time of this interview. She was from Arkansas and he was from Oklahoma; they met in Texas and then migrated to the Bay Area in the early 1940s; he found work in shoe repair, and she in hairdressing. They are longtime original residents of Parchester Village and have much to say about its development. Their interview offers some insights into the experiences of African Americans in the South during the first part of the 20th century, the pull and experience of migration, and work and housing in the rapidly changing Bay Area during World War II.
Photo of Charles Huff
Charles Huff
Date of Interview: May 31, 2006
Interviewer: Nadine Wilmot

Charles Huff was born and raised in Oklahoma. He moved to the Bay Area as a teenager and worked briefly in the shipyards, and then returned to Oklahoma and joined the Navy, where he served in the Pacific theater during WWII. After the war, he settled in the Bay Area for good this time, working on bridges as a tow truck operator, and finishing his career as a dispatcher on the Bay Bridge. Huff shares about his family background, his experiences during the War as both civilian and enlistee, and his experiences as a rescuer on the Bay Area's bridges.
Altha M. Humphrey
Altha M. Humphrey
Interviewer: Brendan Furey
Date of Interview: 1/17/2005

Altha Humphrey was in elementary school during the war; her parents were war workers in Richmond. In this interview, she shares her memories of wartime and her reflections on changing gender roles and race relations.

Aller Hunter
Aller Hunter
Interviewer: David Washburn
Date of Interview: 1/19/2005

Aller Hunter was 103 years old at the time of her interview. She was a helper and did clean-up in the shipyards during World War II. She was active in her church community. She came to Richmond from Texas in 1943 and reflects on journey to the Bay Area by train.

Rosella Jackson
Rosella Jackson
Interviewer: Sam Redman
Date of Interview: 2/16/2011

Rosella Jackson grew up in the Salinas Valley, California.  In this interview, she talks about growing up during the Great Depression, her memories of Pearl Harbor, and going to work as a welder in the Kaiser shipyards in Richmond, CA. She describes her on-site welding training, working the graveyard shift, commuting to and from work, and social life of the time.  She recalls the Port Chicago explosion, gender relations of the time, the end of the war celebrations, and opening a restaurant after the war with her husband.

William Jackson
William Jackson
Interviewer: Jess Rigelhaupt
Date of Interviews: 03/08/2005, 03/16/2005

Bill Jackson was a merchant marine during World War II. As he is chief engineer of the Red Oak Victory, this interview was conducted on the ship, and includes participation by some of the other volunteers. Part of the interview includes a tour, followed by a sit-down discussion. Jackson talks about his experiences during the war, his travels all over the world, and experiences with racism as an African American merchant marine. He is also the son of African American Berkeley activist Frances Albrier.
Valvia Jefferson

Valvia Jefferson
Interviewer: Sam Redman
Date of Interviews: 4/11/2012

Valvia Jefferson was born in post-war California to parents who had migrated from Arkansas. Her family worked in nearby shipyards, but stayed in the area and quickly became enmeshed into growing the African American community in the East Bay. As a child, Jefferson was among the very first African American students to attend the previously segregated Maritime Nystrom School in Richmond, California. In this interview, she describes some of her earliest memories as a young student attending the school, as well as memories of her family and the Richmond community in the post-war era.

Bob Jeffrey

Bob Jeffrey
Interviewer: Javier Arbona
Date of Interviews: 7/26/2011

Bob Jeffrey’s parents worked in Port Chicago in the 1940s; he (as a pre-teen) and his parents were part of the black community that experienced the 1944 explosion. Mr. Jeffrey recalls his mother’s restaurant and father’s carpentry work in Port Chicago. Jeffrey remembers the explosion and the aftermath of the mutiny trial and describes the segregation and racism his family and their friends experienced during the 1940s and early 1950s.

Frances Jenny

Frances Jenny [Transcript in progress]
Interviewer: Sam Redman
Date of Interviews: 11/30/2011

Frances Jenny recalls her life growing up in the Midwest and then her work in a defense plant in Minneapolis during World War II. She provides war-related memories regarding her assembly-line war work, concern about the troops overseas, rationing, giving blood, buying war bonds and Japanese internment. She also provides views on the public’s buying of cars immediately after the war.

George Johnson
George Johnson
Interviewer: Judith Dunning
Date of Interview: 11/20/2002

George Johnson was 108 years old at the time of this interview. Born in 1894 in Pennsylvania, he was a World War I veteran. After that war, he came to California with his wife and settled in the Richmond Annex in 1935. He worked with various forms of transportation and public transit. His interview focuses on wartime work, living in Richmond , and living in Richmond during World War II. It also offers interesting insights in racial identity in America.
Ted Johnson
Ted Johnson
Interviewer: David Washburn
Date of Interview: 3/21/2003

An Oakland native, Johnson managed and played accordion for Dude Martin and his Roundup Gang. The country music group played throughout the Bay Area during the late 1930s, but settled down in Richmond during the war, often playing five nights a week at East Shore Park. Martin's band was a popular radio act in the Bay Area for years for much of the 1930s-1940s. Discusses: Music and radio business in Richmond, Oakland, and San Francisco, country music in the Bay Area, the Swedish community in Oakland, music venue the Barn at Eastshore Park in Richmond, the crowd at the Barn, relations with the City of Richmond and police, musician's union in Oakland.
Marjorie Keck
Marjorie Keck [Transcript available in The Bancroft Library and The National Park Service]
Interviewer: Sam Redman
Date of Interview: 3/8/2011

Marjorie Keck was born in Berkeley to San Francisco-born parents of Swiss heritage. In her oral history, she recalls her childhood attending Berkeley schools, taking the Key Route and ferry to visit her grandparents in San Francisco, and graduating from Cal in 1942. Ms. Keck worked at the H. Heinz Company while her husband served in the South Pacific during World War II. Oral history topics also include wartime rationing, work, migration, and reflections on the changes in the Bay Area after the war’s end.

William Kirschbaum
William Kirschbaum
Interviewer: Sam Redman
Date of Interview: 2/10/2012

William Kirschbaum describes life growing up in San Francisco during the Depression and recalls his participation in World War II.  He describes his father’s difficult efforts to support the family and recalls the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge and attending the 1939 World’s Fair. He remembers the start of the war, rationing, joining the State Guard and then the Merchant Marine.  He describes life on a Victory Ship and recalls the war ending.  He describes his path to staying in the military after the war and provides views on how the military has changed.

John T. Knox
John T. Knox
Interviewer: Laura McCreery
Date of Interview: 6/24/2003

John T. Knox served in the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II and graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles and Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. He began practicing law in Richmond in the early 1950s and was active in Democratic Party elections and politics at every level of government. Although he represented the Richmond area in the California state Assembly from 1961 to 1980, the interview focuses on the Richmond community: politics, labor unions, school board, newspaper, public housing, voter registration, health care, and business climate.
Betty Ellen Kreidler
Betty Ellen Kreidler
Interviewer: Sarah Selvidge
Date of Interview: 8/24/2010

Betty Ellen Kreidler was born in 1926 in Sewickly, Pennsylvania. She moved with her family to Oakland, California and lived there until 1938, when her father, being a Captain in the National Guard, was transferred to Fort Bening, Georgia for 6 months where she learned about Southern prejudice. Kreidler reflects on life during the war, namely her mother’s victory garden, her father’s occupation, the expansion of the Richmond shipyards during the war, and working in an office instead of a shipyard. She also comments on the changes in the workplace dynamic between men and women and on her volunteer work as a docent on the Jeremiah O’Brien.

Dorothy Kugel

Dorothy Kugel [Transcript in progress]
Interviewer: Jess Rigelhaupt
Date of Interview: 5/21/12

Dorothy Kugel was born in 1923 near Waynesfield, Ohio. She worked at Westingouse in Lima, Ohio one year beginning 1942. The job at the Westinghouse factory making dynamotors allowed Kugel to save money and put herself through nursing school at the University of Michigan. She recalls nursing school and working as nurse during World War II, family history, and the effects of the Great Depression.

Rose Lesslie

Rose Lesslie
Interviewer: Sam Redman
Date of Interview: 1/30/2012

Rose Lesslie was born in Oakland to immigrant parents from Croatia. Her parents soon moved to Mountain View, where she spent much of her childhood during the Great Depression. Her father found a job as a gardener at Stanford University and her mother worked in agriculture, picking and sorting apricots with her children as soon as they could stand. When the war started, she found work at Moffett Field – a major center for military blimp and balloon operations. She describes her hiring as an underage young woman, meeting her future husband at the base, training and working on military blimps. This interview also includes recollections of sexual harassment in the workplace. Her interview details recollections about blackouts, bombing raid safety drills, and Japanese American relocation. Following the war, she briefly relocated to the east coast before permanently returning to California, finding work at Hiller Aircraft where she helped manufacture helicopters primarily for the military.

Danny Levin

Danny Levin
Interviewer: Jess Rigelhaupt
Date of Interview: 7/11/2012

Daniel Levin was born in 1931 and lived in Asbury Park, New Jersey until moving with his family to Arlington, Virginia while he was in high school. He discusses family history and life in New Jersey during the war. He reflects on growing up with the tangible threat of German attack, the importance of his job opportunities during the war, the boom and urbanizations of Arlington, Virginia during World War II.

Photo of Ivy Reid Lewis
Ivy Reid Lewis
Date of Interview: 8/4/06 and 9/14/06
Interviewer: Nadine Wilmot

Ivy Reid Lewis, daughter of local baseball hero and community member Charlie Reid, grew up in Richmond and West Oakland. Her family resided in Richmond prior to the wave of migration that came with World War II; she witnessed the wartime transformation of the city up close when her family took in boarders. She worked for the City of Richmond for decades, coordinating the neighborhood councils that were initiated by Lucretia Edwards and continued as part of the Model Cities Program. In her interview, she discusses her family's long history in California; her father's work and legacy in Richmond; Richmond's changes during the war; her years with the city, cultivating and building neighborhood councils; and her time as a student at UC Berkeley.
Photo of David Lloyd
David Lloyd
Date of Interview: 6/5/2012
Interviewer: Jess Rigelhaupt

David Lloyd describes his childhood in Arlington, VA during the lateDepression and World War II. He describes how as a child he paid careful attention to the war both before and after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He recalls rationing, war bonds, and newspaper and magazine attention to the war. He relates his school’s efforts to support the war. He comments on the devastation. He compares FDR’s New Deal to Lyndon Johnson’s economic programs. He describes Arlington’s rapid growth during and after the war.
Margaret Loverde
Margaret Loverde
Interviewer: Esther Ehrlich
Date of Interview: 2/7/2003

Margaret Loverde was raised in Berkeley and volunteered in high school at the child development centers in Richmond. After graduating, she worked for a year at the Maritime Child Development Center. Discusses: mother's early role in the centers, the 24-hour center at Washington School, daily life at the Maritime Child Development Center; attitudes toward mothers choosing to work outside the home, including attitudes of the Catholic Church; teachers' and parents' philosophies toward child-rearing; and lobbying efforts to increase teacher salaries.
Eleanor Macintosh
Eleanor Macintosh [Transcript in progress]
Interviewer: Sam Redman
Date of Interview: 4/4/2011

Born to British parents who had migrated to Canada, Eleanor Macintosh was only a small child when her parents moved the family to California. During the midst of the Great Depression, Eleanor recalls her father’s daily routine of traveling around the Bay Area to find temporary work at lumber yards. Despite their college education, her parents struggled, like many families, until the war. In the midst of the Great Depression, Macintosh graduate from high school in Oakland at the top of her class and enrolled at UC Berkeley to study journalism. Her oral history details life on campus before the war, before Macintosh started work in the Moore Dry Docks. Like the nearby Kaiser Shipyards, other war industries in the area were clamoring for workers. In this interview, Macintosh describes her time hiring and processing employees during the war. She also compares race relations in different regions of the United States.

Lucile Madsen

Lucille Madsen
Interviewer: Sam Redman
Date of Interview: 4/4/2011

Lucille Jane Madsen was born in Oakland, California in 1913. In this interview, she talks about her upbringing and everyday life during the Great Depression for her family, sharing a love for music with her seven other siblings. Madsen recalls her courtship and marriage, schooling in the Bay Area, and work as a teenager in a department store. During the war, Madsen worked as a key punch operator at Safeway grocers before continuing as a key punch operator job at Moore Dry-dock. Madsen also shares her recollections of wartime migrants arriving in California to find work in the defense industry, New Deal era programs such as the WPA, wartime rationing, wartime patriotism, reactions to Port Chicago disaster, and memories of major changes following the war.

Matilda Maes
Matilda Maes
Interviewer: David Washburn
Date of Interview: 4/1/2005

Matilda Maes migrated as a child with her family from Texas and settled in Modesto. As a young woman, she worked in the Moore Dry Dock shipyard during the war. Some of the themes in her interview are her work in the shipyards, raising her family, changing gender roles, and her husband’s involvement in his union.

Gloria Magleby

Gloria Magleby
Interviewer: Javier Arbona
Date of Interview: 7/29/2010

Gloria Magleby recalls moving at age nine from Utah  to Pittsburg, CA and later going to Mt. Diablo High School. She recalls various aspects of World War II, including four brothers serving, rationing, war stamps, fears of enemy spying, and German prisoners of war at Camp Stoneman. She describes becoming an activist in the Bay Point community, including leading the name change of West Pittsburg to Bay Point. She describes working as a clerk in Port Chicago and the 1944 explosion. She describes going off to college and then returning to work in customer service at Shell Chemical. She discusses many aspects of community activism in Pittsburg/Bay Point after the war right up to the present.

Phyllis Maloney
Phyllis Maloney
Interviewer: Sam Redman
Date of Interview: 1/30/2012

Phyllis Maloney describes her childhood in Florida during the Depression, meeting her husband to be and moving to Alexandria during World War II. She describes her work during the war as a mechanic for Pennsylvania Central Airlines. She describes her switch to office work after the war and moving to California.

Barbara Manakoff and Ann Steppan
Barbara Manakoff and Ann Steppan
Interviewer: Sam Redman
Date of Interview: 10/18/2010

Barbara and Ann met each other in kindergarten.  They have been close friends ever since.  Shortly after war broke out, the two took jobs together at the Richmond shipyards.  This interview sheds light on work in the shipyards and the various social changes in the Bay Area during the war.  This interview also explores reactions to Japanese internment, the Port Chicago disaster, and the in-migration to the Bay Area from other parts of the country. 

Ermestine Martin
Ermestine Martin [Transcript available in The Bancroft Library and The National Park Service]
Interviewer: Nadine Wilmot
Date of Interviews: 3/30/2005, 4/5/2005, 4/8/2005

Ermestine Martin moved to Richmond from Oklahoma with her family during World War II. She worked in a factory and as a caregiver before beginning her own real estate business, which she still operates. She was part of a group of African American realtors who were instrumental in desegregating Richmond’s residential neighborhoods in the postwar era. She is also a member of Richmond's oldest black church, North Richmond Missionary Baptist Church.
 
Leon Mason
Interviewer: Sam Redman
Date of Interview: 3/7/2011

Leon Mason grew up in California during the midst of the Great Depression. During high school, he worked for the National Youth Administration (NYA). Following high school, he worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) maintaining forests in California. He eventually found work as a ship fitter at the Kaiser Shipyards before leaving to work for Marin Shipyards. Mason provides details about the working environments at the shipyards – including Kaiser’s initiatives to keep the morale of wartime workers high. Mason was then drafted into the Navy and served in the Pacific Theater as part of the Seabee (Construction Battalion – CB) where his unit helped in building landing strips for bombers. Mason used the GI Bill to advance his education in California upon his return. He drove a taxi cab for twenty years and taught elementary school in the Bay Area.

Velva Maye
Velva Maye
Interviewer: Robin Li
Date of Interview: 4/18/2012

Velva Fleming Maye  was born in North Dakota in 1924. In this interview, she discusses her childhood on “the most modern farm in North Dakota”, the suffering of the Depression years, the journey west with her parents working as itinerant workers. In 1941, the family arrived in Seattle, where her father worked for Todd Shipyards. Maye was hired by Boeing out of high school, initially doing secretarial work before becoming a buyer for standards parts for the B-17 production line, “putting out a plane just about every hour”. After struggling with the effects of wartime trauma, Maye’s marriage ended and she returned to Boeing in 1953, where she continued to work for several decades.  She describes pestering her co-worker to teach her about computers, eventually becoming a systems analyst, programmer and educator. After her retirement, Maye worked to restore a B-17 for display at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

Photo of Beth McCain, 1941

Beth McCain
Interviewer: David Dunham
Date of Interview: 5/26/2011

Beth McCain describes growing in Utah, including experiences on the family farm, religious views, dating and socializing. She recounts her World War II experience, including her husband’s officer training in Connecticut and Alameda, CA. She describes her war work at the Alameda Naval Air Station and other wartime experiences on the California home front.


Louise McClain

Louise McClain
Interviewer: Sam Redman
Date of Interview: 3/28/2011

Louise McClain was born in 1924 in Denver, Colorado. She studied engineering at the University of Minnesota with the Curtiss-Wright Aircraft program and later worked on the Curtiss SB2C Helldiver. Ms. McClain later worked as a statistician with Douglas Aircraft in Los Angeles. She tells her thoughts on women working in math-based fields.

James McCloud
James McCloud
Interviewer: David Dunham
Date of Interview: 9/24/2002

James McCloud was part of Kaiser's management team, serving in various positions including field construction superintendent and outfitting superintendent at shipyards one, two, three, and four. He is a native of the Bay Area and attended Stanford University, where he received his bachelor's in engineering. In this interview, you hear a shipyard manager’s perspective on wartime growth in industry and the shipyards.
Marion McCollum

Marion McCollum
Interviewer: Sam Redman
Date of Interview: 12/1/2010

Marion McCollum was born in Poughkeepsie, New York. She began working for the FBI near the end of 1942. After the war, she bought a home in Oakland and sent her daughter to Holy Name University. In this interview, McCollum discusses migration to California, her reaction to Pearl Harbor, wartime patriotism, religion, and postwar life. She speaks at length about urban development in Richmond and Oakland, and the changes in population demographics that came with it.

Ora Lee McCoy
Ora Lee McCoy
Interviewer: Nadine Wilmot
Date of Interview: 3/23/2005

Originally from Texas, Ora Lee McCoy moved to the Bay Area during World War II and worked in a print shop in San Francisco. She went on to work for Ray Collins, the leading African American real estate agent in Oakland during the 1950s, and in postwar Richmond real estate markets as well. She was involved in the efforts to desegregate the Bay Area's housing markets in the 1950s and '60s.

Photo of Doris McCuan

Doris McCuan
Interviewer: Jess Rigelhaupt
Date of Interview: 6/12/2008

Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Doris McCuan moved to the Bay Area in 1942 to join part of her family working at the Kaiser shipyards. She remembers ice skating in the winters in Minnesota, and carpooling to work at the shipyards. Later, she became head general auditor. She tells of looking for housing in El Cerrito and attitudes toward union membership, as well as sentiments toward Japanese Americans during World War II, and feelings about racial integration.

Albert and Hortense McGee
Interviewer: David Washburn
Date of Interview: 2/23/2005

Albert McGee, a native of the Bay Area, worked in Shipyards 3 and 4 in the marine electric shop, where he made flanges for bulkheads. He then became an electrician, installing wiring. During World War II he was also a vice principal in Richmond’s public school, working both jobs simultaneously thanks to the multiple shifts of the shipyards and the school system. In this interview, he discusses his family background, his highly technical wartime work, his lifelong connection with Kaiser medical plan, and the changing face of the Bay Area’s population during the war. For a portion of the interview, he is joined by his wife, Hortense.
Jean Michell
Jean Michell
Interviewer: Sam Redman
Date of Interview: 12/1/2011

Jean Michell recounts experiences growing up with her mother in the Bay Area and then moving with her mother and new stepfather to the east coast. During the war years she lived in Tampa, FL and New Jersey and then attended UCLA and UC Berkeley. After the war her family moved to Japan, where they witnessed the struggles of the Japanese people to return to normalcy. Ms. Michell recalls her teen years, including the traumas of frequent relocation, discrimination in the South, and getting used to college life. She provides memories of life at UC Berkeley during the war, including involvement with blood drives, selling war bonds, enjoying social life, and corresponding with family members in the service. She relates her efforts in Japan to organize Japanese alumni of UC Berkeley.

Irene Crosby Miles
Irene Crosby Miles
Interviewer: Sam Redman
Date of Interview: 1/18/2011

Irene Miles was born in Little Falls, Minnesota and grew up during the Great Depression.  In her interview, she describes growing up in Minnesota and South Dakota, including observations about language and religion.  Once her family moved to Aberdeen, Irene took a series of challenging college level courses in the sciences.  Irene wanted to become a nurse, but her mother’s health problems pushed her to entering the workforce before she could finish her schooling.  Eventually, she moved with her mother to California.  At first, they struggled to find work and housing in Oakland, but she eventually secured work as a tool-room operator at the Bethlehem Shipyards.  Her interview describes how people interacted both at the shipyards and in Oakland and details on everyday work life like the “Share the Ride” program. She describes her work at the shipyard and an incident involving the War Manpower Commission.

George Miller

George Miller
Interviewer: Javier Arbona
Date of Interview: 8/13/2010

Congressman George Miller is the U.S. Representative for California's 11th congressional district, serving in Congress since 1975. In this interview, Congressman Miller discusses the process of getting a pardon for the Port Chicago 50 and efforts towards getting Congress to grant Port Chicago National Park status. He also reflects on what Port Chicago has meant for him.


Virginia Miller
Virginia Miller [Transcript in progress]
Interviewer: Travis Thompson
Date of Interview: 4/5/2012

Virginia Miller talks about her childhood memories. She remembers going to church and the methods of transportation she used. She discusses her middle school experience and recalls attending University High School. She talks about dating and music during the 1930’s and 1940’s. She discusses life during the Great Depression. She recalls her parents’ views on President Hoover and President Roosevelt. She talks about attending the University of California, Berkeley and what campus life was like during World War Two. She recalls her working and volunteering experiences during the war. She remembers learning about the death of President Roosevelt and the bombing of Japan. She recalls the end of the war and life after World War Two. She reflects on the impact of the war on her life.

Nancy Miramontes
Nancy Miramontes
Interviewer: Sam Redman
Date of Interview: 3/16/2011

Nancy Miramontes, born in Nebraska in 1925, moved with her family to California just as the Great Depression was starting to take hold. Her parents migrated from Mexico to find employment in agriculture, but they eventually left the cold weather to move to California where her father and uncle found work for a railroad. As a child, Spanish was spoken in her home, and in the interview she discusses learning English as a small child. She details her parents ideas about politics, patriotism, and language. Miromontes also describes the foods she ate growing up. When the Second World War arrived, she and her sister joined her father at the Moore Dry Docks in Oakland, where she became a welder. She offers insight into the racial and ethnic diversity of the shipyards and the surrounding community. Before the war, she and her sister worked in the thriving cannery industry in Northern California. This interview concludes with her reflections on her upbringing and changes in California community and social life.

Agnes Moore

Agnes Moore
Interviewer: Sarah Selvidge
Date of Interview: 7/13/2010

Agnes Moore was born February 24th, 1920 in Searey County, Arkansas, where her family owned a small farm. In 1942, Moore moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and began work as a welder in the Kaiser Shipyards. In this interview, Moore reflects on her childhood in Arkansas, her experiences after moving to the Bay Area, and life after WWII. She discusses the specific types of ships built in the Shipyards, the Kaiser health plan, and marriage while working in the shipyard. She also touches on the diversity in Richmond and discrimination against non-whites in women.

DeMaurice Moses

DeMaurice Moses
Interviewer: Jess Rigelhaupt
Date of Interview: 6/4/2012

Dr. DeMaurice Moses was born in Washington, D.C. in 1933. He spent his childhood in Washington D.C., Harlem, and Queens. While living with his grandmother in Washington, D.C. during World War II, he got to know Dorothy Height, who lived upstairs from his grandmother, and other members of the “Black Cabinet.” He attended Yale University, Case Western Reserve University Medical School, and had long career as a physician in Puyallup, Washington. He discusses his family history, African American history, racism in the United States, and the long black freedom struggle.

Rebecca Naman

Rebecca Naman [Transcript in progress]
Interviewer: David Dunham
Date of Interview: 3/31/2012, 5/21/2012

Rebecca Naman describes her parents’ experiences as Armenian immigrants and her childhood in Fresno.  She recalls her move to Sacramento and acquiring of jobs with the State Treasurer’s office and then the hiring office of the McClellan Air Force Base. She describes the tremendous buildup in workforce at the base as a result of the advent of World War II and the various processes engaged in and challenges faced by the base during the war, including hiring of and discrimination against women. She recalls various aspects of the war, including blackouts, rationing and war bonds. She discusses her human resources career and her role on the California Commission on Aging after her retirement.

Elson Nash

Elson Nash
Interviewer: Sarah Selvidge
Date of Interview: 8/10/2010

Elson Nash was born and raised in Palmetto, a small Louisiana town that was segregated throughout his childhood. He was drafted by the military twice, once in 1944 before being discharged for medical reasons, and again in 1948, when he was placed on the reserves list for five years. After his discharge, he worked in New Orleans as a laborer before learning to weld at Xavier University, which enabled him to work at Higgins in New Orleans, and later at the Kaiser Shipyards in Richmond, California. In this interview, he discusses his experiences with the postwar struggle to find employment, segregation and racism in the industry and the Berkeley school system, and the importance of education to his and his children’s lives.

Marian Nelson

Marian Nelson
Interviewer: Robin Li
Date of Interview: 1/13/2012

Marian Nelson describes her family background and growing up in Fargo, ND during the Depression. She describes her parents’ problems, her courtship and marriage, and her husband’s military experience during World War II. She describes going to work in a munitions plant in Nebraska near the start of the war and the fatal plant explosion that she luckily avoided. She recalls various memories of the war. She describes life as a military family after the war, including into the Korean War.

Mary Newson with coworkers
Mary Newson
Interviewer: Esther Ehrlich
Date of Interview: 10/2/2002

Mary Newson married at 16 and left her home in rural Texas. She moved to the Bay Area, where she worked a variety of jobs before she was hired at the Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant in Richmond. She was employed there for 32 years as a janitor, assembly line worker, and inspector, relocating to San Jose when the plant moved to Milpitas. She discusses her rural upbringing in Texas and her journey to the Bay Area; the range of jobs she held as a young African American woman; networking and cohesion among coworkers; the role of religion in her life; and housing, transportation, and the social climate in Bay Area during the war years.
Tom Oishi
Interviewer: Donna Graves; David Washburn
Date of Interview: 12/12-19/2002, 1/17/2003

A native of Richmond, Oishi grew up on the south side of town, where his family operated a carnation nursery. He was part of the first group of workers to be employed by the Kaiser shipyards. Upon graduation from Richmond High, he trained to become a welder and began work at Kaiser by late 1941. All of Richmond's Japanese American families, including the Oishis, were forced to move to the Tanforan Race Track in San Bruno, where they stayed until being relocated to internment camps throughout the West. The Oishis were interned at Topaz, Utah. Oishi was able to work in a nursery in Chicago during the war, and was among the first in his family to return to their nursery in Richmond in 1944. In 1945, Oishi was drafted by the army and served at P.O.W. camps in Virginia and California. He continued to work in the nursery business until the 1990s. Discusses: growing up in Richmond's Japanese American community and attending various city schools; the cut flower business, work at the shipyards, the Japanese internment, and life after the war.
Photo of Royce Ong
Royce Ong
Interviewer: David Washburn
Date of Interview: 1/14/2003

Raised in Point Richmond, Ong attended high school in Richmond during World War II. He lived with his mother in their family home, established by Ong's grandfather near the turn of the 20th century. He discusses the school environment during 1940s, life in Point Richmond, his mother's job at Standard Oil during the war, and the Chinese American community in Richmond.
Photo of Bonnie Overton

Bonnie Overton
Interviewer: David Dunham
Date of Interview: 8/9/2011

Bonnie Overton was born in Newton, Kansas and migrated to California during World War II. In this interview, she discusses her family background and life during the Dust Bowl and Great Depression. She talks about racial and cultural diversity in Newton, Kansas. Mrs. Overton describes her older sister’s experiences as a woman enlisted in the Army, healthcare, moving to California, and Huntington Park Shipyards. She discusses her first day and long career at Douglas in Long Beach, where she worked on every model of plane manufactured there. She recalls the 1951 Union Strike and wartime working conditions. She describes buying bonds, the Hollywood Canteen, and V-J Day.

Photo of Dorothy Owens

Dorothy Owens
Interviewer: Jess Rigelhaupt
Date of Interview: 6/7/2012

Dorothy Owens was born near Dallas, Texas in 1921. Her family moved to New York City when she was a young child. She reflects on living in New York City during the Great Depression, attending Cornell University, reactions to the bombing of Pearl Harbor on campus, accepting a job with IBM immediately after graduation from Cornell, and working for IBM during World War II.

Photo of Kerby Parnell
Kerby Parnell
Date of Interview: 11/9/06
Interviewer: Nadine Wilmot

In this interview, Kerby Parnell discusses her life of adventure. She migrated to Dinuba, California, from Arkansas with her family as a child in search of better opportunities. In Dinuba, her family worked in fruit and cotton, as part of California's agricultural industry. When Parnell was a teenager, she, her parents, and her grandmother all went to work in the Kaiser shipyards, making for three generations of one family represented simultaneously in Kaiser Shipyard 2. Also during the war, she worked at the Fox Theater, and then, after the war ended, with Rheem Manufacturing Company, Hercules Powder Company, and the Mechanics Bank, where she works still. Her interview illuminates the themes of migration, identity, labor, and a changing wartime Richmond.
Photo of Tom Powers

Tom Powers
Date of Interview: 6/20/2011
Interviewer: Sam Redman

Tom was a very small child during the Second World War. His family has an extended history in California – his parents resettling in downtown Richmond just as the city was starting to rapidly expand at the outset of the war. The primary focus of this interview is Tom’s time as a student at the Childcare Development Center, where his mother was head teacher. In his interview, he offers his thoughts on how the Great Depression influenced the Second World War, recollections of air raid drills, and the influences of war imagery through posters and other wartime propaganda. Powers provides great detail on his experiences as a young student at the Childcare Development Center, including his daily routine and personal response to different pedagogical methods. Later, Tom became a temporary teacher at the school, finding the routine to be intimately familiar in the context of a changing city. Powers went on to become an important Bay Area politician – working with his wife, Donna Powers, in helping to found the Rosie the Riveter / WWII Homefront National Historic Park in Richmond.

Photo of Donald Progulske

Donald Progulske
Date of Interview: 8/11/2010
Interviewer: Javier Arbona and David Dunham

Donald Progulske recalls his early childhood in Massachusetts, his early career as a machinist tool maker and his desire to join his brothers in the service during World War II. He describes his officers training program at Harvard and his subsequent assignment to Port Chicago in 1945.  He briefly describes his time at Port Chicago and the end of the war, and then his return to college under the GI bill. He recounts his path to the PhD in forestry and wildlife and his subsequent career as a professor. He offers views on the public’s evolving views on the environment and race relations.

Photo of Eunice Progulske

Eunice Progulske
Date of Interview: 8/11/2010
Interviewer: Julie Stein

Born February 15, 1925 in Springfield, Massachusetts, Eunice Progulske spent most of her childhood in West Springfield. She began working in a factory directly after graduating from high school, but decided to enroll in the nursing program at Metropolitan Hospital in New York City. In this interview, she reflects on her life in West Springfield, on Welfare Island, and after WWII. She also discusses rationing and the impact of WWII on her daily life.

Photo of Mary Prout

Mary Hall Prout
Date of Interview: 4/2002 and 5/11/2012
Interviewers: Ben Bicais and Sam Redman

Mary Hall Prout was born in San Francisco in 1921. Her father was a newspaperman who owned the Gilroy Dispatch, but her family felt the effects of the Great Depression when their house was foreclosed by the bank. By the start of the war, she had begun studying to become a teacher, first through a community college before completing her studies at San Jose State University. A job opportunity soon brought her to Richmond, California where she became a teacher (and soon head teacher) for schools in the Richmond Childcare Development Centers. Her oral history details her experiences working with young children – from the evolving theories and methods of pedagogy to the actual day-to-day experiences of a teacher in the context of a changing community. The interview also points to the operational, social, and economic problems facing the teachers – including the challenges inherent to unionization.

Photo of Marilyn Pursley

Marilyn Pursley [Available only in The Bancroft Library and The National Park Service]
Date of Interview: 4/19/2011
Interviewer: Sam Redman

Marilyn Pursley spent her childhood in Missouri and Oklahoma. She moved to California to take a job at the Kaiser ship yards. In California, Ms. Purlsey became part of the local radical community and she discusses her perspective on social, economic, and racial issues of the time. She went into the real estate business and in 1984 opened her own office.

Photo of Josephina Ramirez
Josephina Ramirez
Interviewer: David Washburn
Date of Interview: 10/14/2002

Ramirez moved from Santa Barbara, California, to Richmond after her husband secured a job in the Bay Area defense industry. She was an active member of Santa Barbara's Mexican Baptist community before World War II, and continued her participation in church activities with Richmond's First Mexican Baptist Church. Through the church, she acclimated to life in Richmond. Discusses: life in Santa Barbara before World War II, finding a home in Richmond, meeting people at church and church activities, moving out of Richmond to El Cerrito in the 1950s.
Photo of Redell Randle

Redell Randle
Interviewer: Sam Redman
Date of Interview: 2/7/2011

Redell was born in Louisiana and moved with his family to California as a small boy. Like many other African American families in the region, his family moved to the Bay Area in order to find work in the booming shipbuilding industry. Some of his earliest memories were of moving to California during the war. Redell and his family eventually moved into Atchison Village, one of the first African American families to do so. He recalls the war fondly, as a time where children of different races and ethnicities played together in the shadow of the shipyards during the war. His interview offers insights on the history of the city of Richmond and Redell’s unique perspectives on the interracial friendships he developed over his lifetime. Redell also goes in to depth regarding his ideas regarding the importance of education. He also provides an account of feeling the blast from Port Chicago in 1944. Redell played baseball professionally before being drafted into the Army. He speaks about changes in attitudes and ideas following the end of his time in the military. This interview took place at his home in Atchison Village.

Photo of Newman Rebell

Newman Rebell
Interviewer: Jess Rigelhaupt
Date of Interview: 4/15/2008

Newman Rebell was born in Oakland and grew up in Berkeley. A teenager during World War II, he worked in military warehouses for the summers. He describes redlining in Oakland and Berkeley, watching sports for entertainment, fraternal organizations, and the church as a center of social life for African Americans people in Berkeley. He remembers Japanese American friends being taken to internment camps, and segregation in the military and in unions. We also hear perceptions of boomtown Richmond during World War II, and reactions to the use of atomic bombs against Japan.

Photo of Jeanne Reynolds
Jeanne Reynolds
Interviewer: Esther Ehrlich
Date of Interview: 3/5/2003

Jeanne Reynolds grew up in Richmond in the 1920s and 1930s, and worked as a second-grade teacher in San Pablo during and after the war. She also worked as a secretary at the evening high school in Richmond in 1943, which provided an education to shipyard workers. Discusses: attitudes of the “locals” to the influx of newcomers during the war, including race-related issues; effects of the war on courtship, marriage, and child-rearing; the tremendous changes in Richmond during the war; conditions in the classrooms, social life, postwar Richmond.
Photo of Bobby Robbins
Bobby Robbins
Interviewer: David Washburn
Date of Interview: 3/29/2003

A longtime active member of Richmond's music community, Robbins played guitar in several swing bands. He worked as a plumber in the Kaiser shipyards, and in several of the new housing developments that were erected during and after the war. He discusses nightlife and music in Richmond, the musicians' union and community, and newcomers to Richmond.
Photo of Roscoe Robinson
Roscoe Robinson
Interviewer: Brendan Furey
Date of Interview: 1/13/2003, 1/24/2003

Raised in Houston, Texas, Roscoe Robinson moved to the Bay Area in 1943 with his young wife at age 23. With a train pass issued from his previous employer, the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, Robinson journeyed to San Francisco and found a basement apartment in Chinatown for his family. He later found a job in the Richmond shipyards as a painter, where he worked until being drafted into the army in 1945.
Photo of Marion Ross
Marion Ross
Interviewer: Sam Redman
Date of Interview: 5/5/2011

Marion Ross was born in San Francisco in 1924. She graduated from Mills College in 1944. Ms. Ross discusses the wartime atmosphere at Mills, her recollections of Pearl Harbor, and feelings about Japanese internment. She talks about her work at L.E. Ship, including class and race relations in the workplace. After WWII Ms. Ross earned a PhD in economics at UC Berkeley. She discusses the post-war atmosphere on campus and her residence at the International House.
Photo of Jack Rosston
Jack Rosston [Transcript in progress]
Interviewer: Sam Redman
Date of Interview: 5/24/2011

Jack Rosston was born in 1921 in San Francisco, where he spent his childhood. He later attended in the University of California, Berkeley where he would remain a dedicated member of the university’s Alumni Association – eventually serving as the alumni representative on the Board of Regents. In this interview, Rosston recalls memories of San Francisco during the Great Depression. A temporary job with a New Deal agency, the National Youth Administration (NYA) allowed him to start attending the university. In this interview, Rosston shares memories of life on campus as a student at the outset of the war, including memories of various student reactions to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Rosston later joined the US Army, where he was stationed on the home front for the duration of the war before returning to California where he became active in business and in volunteering on behalf of the university. 

Photo of Beatrice Rudney

Beatrice Rudney
Interviewer: Jess Rigelhaupt
Date of Interview: 5/15/2008

Beatrice Rudney was born on the outskirts of New Haven, Connecticut. She followed her sister into nursing, and attended nursing school during World War II at New York Hospital. After working at hospitals in New Mexico and Virginia, she moved to Oakland in 1948 to work at Kaiser, eventually becoming the assistant coordinator of home health at Kaiser Oakland. She offers a perspective on training as a nurse during a shortage of medical professionals because of the war. She tells of the emphasis on preventive care at Kaiser, and the racial and ethnic integration of the Bay Area.

Photo of Goldie Byrd Ruffin
Goldie Byrd Ruffin
Date of Interview: 6/12/06
Interviewer: Nadine Wilmot

Goldie Byrd Ruffin is from an old California family, dating back to 1849 with connections to many important and historic African American political organizations such as the Men of Tomorrow and the East Bay Democratic Club. Her family resided in West Oakland before World War II and witnessed the influx of new migration that accompanied wartime opportunities in the Bay Area. As a young girl, she attended Prescott Elementary in West Oakland and was a student in the classroom of Ida L. Jackson, first African American teacher in the Oakland public schools. She attended University High School in Oakland, which later became Merritt Junior College, and then went on to San Francisco State and UCLA. She and all of her sisters became nurses; she went on to retire from Richmond Unified School District as a school nurse, a topic which is discussed in this interview. Her interview sheds light on the transition from prewar to postwar Oakland from the perspective of an Oakland native. It also presents a complicated picture of class identity and mobility for African Americans during this time frame.
Photo of Polly Russell
Polly Russell
Interviewer: David Washburn
Date of Interview: 9/22/2002

Russell moved from Las Cruces, New Mexico, to Richmond with her parents and sister, Mary Lou. Soon after arriving, she was trained as a welder at the Kaiser shipyards. She frequently attended dances at local clubs and Oakland ballrooms. Discusses: life in Las Cruces before the war, adjusting to life in Richmond, working at Kaiser, meeting her husband, dancing and entertainment in the Bay Area, work after the war.
Photo of Joyce Rutherford
Joyce Rutherford [Transcript in progress]
Interviewer: Sam Redman
Date of Interview: 11/2/2011

Born in Porterville, California to immigrant parents from England – Joyce Rutherford would later attend the University of California, Berkeley where she studied architecture. At the start of the Great Depression, her family lost their farm and moved to Crockett, where she attended elementary school. Early in her schooling she demonstrated great aptitude for mathematics. Soon she began taking mechanical and architectural drawing courses. While attending the university, she found work at the Kaiser Shipyards in nearby Richmond. Working with engineers at the shipyards, she improved her rendering skills through practical experience. In this interview, she describes the community in which she grew up, attending religious services with her parents, her experiences in studying to become an architect while at Berkeley, and life during and after World War II.
Photo of Georgia Sadler
Georgia Sadler [Transcript in progress]
Interviewer: David Dunham
Date of Interview: 8/12/2011

Photo of Natalie Salsig

Natalie Salsig [Transcript in progress]
Interviewer: Sam Redman
Date of Interview: 4/26/2011

Natalie Salsig was raised in Spokane, Washington in the early 1920s. Her family moved to California during the midst of the Great Depression. Her great uncle, Culbert Olson, would serve in the California State Legislature and ultimately become Governor of California (1939-1943). In this interview, Salsig shares her recollections surrounding the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge. Salsig describes her time as a student at the University of California, Berkeley, where she studied music. While at Berkeley, she also met the man who would become her husband, a mechanical engineer. Following her time as an undergraduate, Salsig earned a teaching credential and her husband began working at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab. Her husband was soon offered a job at Oakridge Tennessee a critical location for the development of the atomic bomb. While her husband worked at the lab, Salsig became an elementary school teaching at the government created town for the duration of the war.

Photo of Nellie Sarracino
Nellie Sarracino
Interviewer: Elizabeth Castle
Date of Interview: 4/12/2005, 4/14/2005

Nellie Sarracino moved to the Richmond Indian Village in 1942 to work as an engine wiper on the railcars for the Santa Fe Railroad. Later she transferred to work in the repair shop then on to the steam engine supply room. She married Victor "Sandy" Sarracino, an electrician for the railroad, who also lived in the Richmond Indian Village. When she married, she stopped working and focused on her family. In her interview, she offers a detailed description of how the railroad boxcars were dismantled to provide housing for the families of the village. She also discusses her husband’s experiences as a member of a popular band which played throughout the Bay Area, and how she was able to cook traditional foods in a special oven built by her husband. She is Ruth Sarracino Hopper's mother.
Photo of Ruth Ann Hopper Sarracino
Ruth Sarracino Hopper
Interviewer: Elizabeth Castle
Date of Interview: 4/12/2005, 4/13/2005

Ruth Sarracino Hopper, a Laguna Pueblo Indian, grew up with her family in the Richmond Indian Village. Her rich interview covers topics such as the social life of the young people in the village, the sports they played, and where they congregated in Richmond. She also provides a detailed and interpretive perspectives on how the tribal council and government of the Richmond Colony functioned in relationship to the local authorities in California as well as to the Laguna Pueblo Nation in New Mexico. Hopper describes how remarkable it was to speak her tribal language, practice traditional lifeways off the reservation in the confines of the village - yet all in a major urban area. She is the daughter of Nellie Sarracino.
Photo of Marian Sauer
Marian Sauer
Interviewer: Jess Rigelhaupt
Date of Interview: 10/15/2002

Marian Sauer taught in the Richmond public schools during World War II. She discusses her experiences playing in an all-woman swing band, as well as life in Richmond before and after the War.
Photo of Mignon Scherer

Mignon Scherer
Interviewer: David Dunham
Date of Interview: 12/31/2011

Mignon Scherer recalls her youth in Detroit during the Depression and relates experiences and views relating to religion and racism. She describes her work on B-29 and P-47 planes at Murray Body Corporation during World War II, as well as her time as a cigarette girl in New York City. Scherer recalls wartime living, including rationing, the media, and fashion changes for women. She speaks of family relationships, her move to the west coast, and her postwar experiences working on environmental issues.

Photo of Ernestine Shepherd

Ernestine Shepherd [Transcript in progress]
Interviewer: David Dunham
Date of Interview: 11/3/2011

Ernestine Shepherd was born on an Oklahoma Indian reservation in 1917. Mrs. Shepherd recalls her life as a young African American woman going to school and working as a social worker in Colorado. She later relocated to Allensworth, CA where she worked in the farming community and earned her driver’s license. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Mrs. Shepherd took work in Richmond, CA as a welder in the Richmond Shipyards. In her interview, she elaborates on life for African Americans in Richmond during and after World War II including: housing, unionization and owning a business. Mrs. Shepherd still resides in Richmond, CA. Her daughter Sherry accompanied her during the interview.

Photo of Irvin Shiosee
Irvin Shiosee
Interviewer: Elizabeth Castle
Date of Interview: 4/11/2005

As a young boy during WWII, Irvin Shiosee moved to the Santa Fe Indian Village (also called the Richmond Indian Village) established in Richmond, California in the late 1920s. The Laguna Pueblo negotiated an agreement with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad Company, allowing it to lay tracks through their ancestral lands in exchange for jobs with the railroad. His grandfather and father worked for the railroad; during the school year, he grew up in Richmond and traveled back to the reservation for the summer. Shiosee discusses his life as a young man experiencing a sometimes hostile new culture in the Bay Area and the public school system in Richmond in particular. He shares his memories of race relations, social life in the Bay Area as a teenager, and what it was like to arrive at school a fluent speaker of his own Native language, Keresan. He also talks about how easily he picked up Japanese because of its similarity to Keresan while serving in the military. He is now retired, living at home on the Laguna Pueblo lands.
Photo of Reverend Andre Shumake Sr.
Reverend Andre Shumake Sr.
Date of Interview: 10/27/07 and 10/30/06
Interviewer: Nadine Wilmot

Reverend Shumake was born after World War II to parents who had migrated to the Bay Area from Louisiana for wartime work. He was raised in the North Richmond Missionary Baptist Church, where he is now an associate minister. He was a leader of the Tent City antiviolence vigil held in Richmond in October 2006, an organic community movement led by the faith community to protest and mark the epidemic of violence and homicides occurring among Richmond's predominantly African American youth. This interview highlights how subsequent waves of migration were connected to the primary wartime migration from the South. It also relates Richmond's past to its present, showing the multigenerational sweep of residents' experience, and the process of urban transformation.
Frank and Mary Shutiva
Interviewer: Elizabeth Castle
Date of Interview: 4/14/2005

Frank Shutiva was born in the Richmond Indian Village in 1927. He is from the Acoma Pueblo Nation, a neighboring tribe of the Laguna Pueblo, which also negotiated a deal with the Santa Fe Railroad to provide jobs for tribal members in exchange for access rights through Acoma land. He remembers that there were Indian "colonies" all along the rail line in California, including Bakersfield and Barstow; his father worked as a painter in Richmond. When World War II began, the teenage Shutiva got a job as a painter because all young men were headed into the service. After working for the railroad during school breaks, when he graduated from high school, he was drafted into the Army in 1946 and was stationed in Japan. He discusses how many parents were nervous about living in the village after the bombing of Pearl Harbor because of their proximity to potential enemy targets like the Standard Oil Company. Shutiva moved to the Acoma Pueblo reservation to retire.
Photo of Celeste Silvas
Celeste Silvas
Interviewer: Judith Dunning
Date of Interview: 3/31/2003

Celeste is the sister of Stella Faria, also born and raised in Pinole. She talks about wartime in Richmond, her work in an administrative office in the shipyards, and then her work after World War II for the Richmond Unified School District. Like her sister, she has been an active member of the Portuguese community in Richmond and Pinole, and reflects here on being the daughter of immigrants.
Photo of Ella Mae Simmons
Ella Mae Simmons [Transcript in progress]
Interviewer: David Dunham
Date of Interview: 4/5/2012

Photo of Alfred Soo

Alfred Soo
Interviewer: Robin Li
Date of Interview: 11/9/2011

Alfred Soo grew up in Berkeley, California in the 1920s and 1930s. After attending Berkeley High, he went for a short time to San Francisco City College. In this interview, he talks about growing up, leaving college to take a position at the shipyards with an expectation of being drafted. He describes his training in the Army, first in weather observation and then navigation, in preparation to fly B17s for the Army Air Corps. He recounts his clear memories of being shot down over Germany in 1944, his prisoner of war experience, and his liberation in 1945. In 1949, Mr. Soo married and moved to El Cerrito, California.

Photo of Betty Reid Soskin

Betty Reid Soskin, Volume I
Betty Reid Soskin, Volume II
Interviewers: Nadine Wilmot, Javier, Arbona, Julie Stein
Dates of Interviews: 11/7/2002, 11/11/2002, 6/11/2010, 6/25/2010

Betty Reid Soskin, of Louisiana Creole heritage, is a native of Oakland and was witness to the massive in-migration of Southerners during the 1940s. During the war she worked in the administrative offices of a black auxiliary boilermakers' union (A36) in the shipyards as well as the federal government. With her first husband, she started the famous Reid’s music store on Sacramento Street in Berkeley. She is active in Bay Area Democratic politics.

In this follow-up interview Betty Reid Soskin reflects on a number of aspects of her childhood, such as religion and racial identification, as having molded her identity.  She recalls living and raising her children in the decidedly non-diverse Bay area suburb of Walnut Creek in the 1950s. She relates how she developed a political activism that led to her role in telling the story of the victims of the Port Chicago explosion.

Photo of Marian Sousa
Marian Sousa
Interviewer: Kathryn Stine
Date of Interview: 9/30/2002

Marion Sousa was born and raised in Eugene, Oregon, and moved to the Bay Area in 1942. In this interview, she talks about her wartime work as a draftswoman in the shipyards, the scarcity of housing, being a woman in the shipyard and in the unions, and raising a family.
Photo of Hazel Spittler

Hazel Spittler
Interviewer: Javier Arbona
Date of Interview: 8/9/2010

Hazel Spittler recalls her childhood in Bay Point, CA, and its name change to Port Chicago in the late thirties. She describes working as a typist after high school, her father working for Tidewater Oil in Martinez, and difficulties stemming from the Depression. She describes experiencing the 1944 Port Chicago explosion. She remembers her church, the Easter egg hunts and the parades. She concludes with how she met her husband.

Photo of Frank Stevenson
Frank Stevenson
Interviewer: Esther Ehrlich
Date of Interview: 4/29/2003

Frank Stevenson was raised in rural Louisiana, left home after seventh grade, and worked his way westward, eventually ending up at the Ford Assembly Plant in Richmond, where he worked until his retirement. He discusses attitudes toward young African-American men both in the rural South and in the West, specifically in relation to work; importance of the UAW-CIO union; role of nightclubs and street life, particularly as they reflected social attitudes toward race and gender; housing in Richmond during the war years; informal segregation in Richmond; and shifts in neighborhoods after the war.
Photo of Harriette Stewart
Harriette Stewart
Interviewer: Kathryn Stine
Date of Interview: 12/16/2002, 1/21/2003

Harriette Stewart trained as a nurse and was a member of the team of doctors and nurses that staffed Yard One of the Kaiser Shipyards. She came to the Bay Area from Nebraska via Los Angeles in 1941, and stayed and built a life with her husband. Her interview contains a great deal of information about the Kaiser shipyards--labor and safety practices and treatment of injuries--and the beginnings and growth of Kaiser Permanente Health Plan, especially obstetrics at Kaiser's MacArthur and Broadway location. It also contains insights into women's changing roles in mothering and working; housing; and the flow of migrant workers arriving in Richmond.
Photo of Hattie Stillwell
Hattie Stillwell
Date of Interview: 8/12/06
Interviewer: Jess Rigelhaupt

Hattie Stillwell came from a rice-farming family in Arkansas. She moved to the Bay Area with her husband during World War II, and worked at Moore Dry Dock shipyard. In this interview, she discusses her early life and family background in
Arkansas, migrating to the Bay Area, the boilermakers' union, how Oakland has changed over time, and racial discrimination in Arkansas and California.
Photo of Inge Stone
Inge Stone
Date of Interview: 10/27/2010
Interviewer: Sam Redman

Inge Stone’s parents were German immigrants who migrated to California when she was a child.  In this interview, she talks about growing up during the Great Depression before starting work prior to the war.  Her first job was working in a ceramics factory.  Eventually, she married and moved to Burbank, California where she worked at a Lockheed Martin plant helping to build P-38 Lighting.  After several months in Southern California, she returned to Richmond to work with her mother in the shipyards as a pipe fitting team.  She recalls war bond drives, car pooling to work, shipyard newspapers, and watching her mother as she christened a ship.  She also speaks about her family’s experience during the Korean War, when her brother was POW/MIA as a serviceman. 
Photo of Bernadine Swadley
Bernadine Swadley
Date of Interview: 12/14/2011
Interviewer: Sam Redman

Bernadine Swadley was born in 1917 in the city of Paso Robles, CA. Her family is sixth generation Californian. Mrs. Swadley’s father attended Stanford during the 1906 Earthquake, and was able to sign for her admittance in 1936. After studying architecture at Stanford, Swadley worked at a lumber yard in El Cerrito for the next twenty years. During this time she recalls drawing FHA kitchen plans at the World’s Fair on Treasure Island, visiting Port Chicago a day after the explosion and entertaining troops during World War II. She also speaks in great depth about the Bay Area housing boom after the war. Mrs. Swadley later went on to hold leadership positions for The American Red Cross in Alameda, CA and The Daughters of the American Revolution. She lives in Oakland, CA.
Photo of Howard Thor
Howard Thor
Interviewer: Brendan Furey
Date of Interview: 11/12/2002

Born in San Franciso in 1923, Howard Thor came from a Scandinavian family of merchant marines. His father, a leader of the International Longshoremen's Association, greatly influenced his decision to enter the merchant marines after the war and later teach at the California Maritime Academy. During the war, Thor was a student at UC Berkeley; during the summer, he worked in the Richmond shipyards as a shipfitter helper.
Photo of Roberta Tidmore
Roberta Tidmore
Date of Interview: 12/30/2011
Interviewer: David Dunham

Ms. Tidmore traces her life growing up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa her production line warwork manufacturing B-26 wings in Rockford, IL., her experiences in the Marines at the end of and just after the war (Quantico, San Diego and San Francisco), and her work as a flight attendant and then a manager of flight attendants in the 1940s and 1950s. She recalls hearing about Pearl Harbor, patriotism of the times, rationing and recycling, and social life during the war. She discusses discrimination against women, blacks and gays during the war and current discrimination in the military.

Photo of Charles and Frances Townes

Charles and Frances Townes [Transcript in progress]
Date of Interview: 4/5/2012
Interviewer: Sam Redman

Charles Townes was born in Greenville, South Carolina in 1915. A Nobel prize winning physicist, Charles possesses a special interest in astrophysics. He is now a Professor of the Graduate School at the University of California. Born in New Hampshire in 1916, Frances Townes studied Italian at Smith College and was in New York City when she first met Charles during World War II. In this interview, the two describe their upbringing and detail the circumstances of their courtship and early years of their marriage. With experience traveling overseas, Frances began working at Columbia University's International House, while Charles was working at Bell Laboratories in nearby New Jersey. The two then detail their various experiences during the remainder of the Second World War and offer perspectives on their lives since the end of the war. Both Charles and Frances have been previously interviewed by ROHO, but this supplementary interview session adds additional memories of social and cultural life on the U.S. home front during World War II.

Photo of Faith Traversie
Faith Traversie
Interviewer: Elizabeth Castle
Date of Interview: 2/19/2005

Faith Traversie joined her sister, Theodora Means, in the Bay Area during World War II and went to work as a “Winnie the Welder” at the Mare Island Shipyard. After receiving superior marks in her qualifying tests, Traversie attended welding classes and did most of her work on heavy cruisers. Traversie, a Lakota from the Yankton Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota, fielded many questions about her identity as a Lakota woman during her two years at the shipyard. After returning to South Dakota, she and her husband, Whitney "Jockey" Traversie, become stalwart supporters of the American Indian Movement when it swept through the Dakotas in the 1970s. Her children and nephews were key organizers in the movement.
Photo of Frances Chow Tuck

Frances Chow Tuck
Interviewer: David Dunham
Date of Interview: 8/26/2011

Frances Chow Tuck was born in Chico, California and grew up in Pittsburgh, California. In this interview, she discusses her family’s immigration from China. She discusses growing up in small town Pittsburgh, where her family ran a Dollar Store throughout World War II. She recalls memories of Pearl Harbor and the Port Chicago Explosion, and its aftermath. She describes her family wearing buttons stating “I’m Chinese American"  on their weekly trips across the Bay Bridge into San Francisco for supplies. Mrs. Tuck dissses rationing, movies, and radios were like during wartime. She recalls what it was like hearing about the end of the war and postwar Pittsburg.

Photo of Isiah Turner
Isiah Turner
Interviewers: Richard Cándida Smith
Date of Interviews: 2/4/2005

Isiah Turner, retired city manager of Richmond during the launching of the park, grew up in Parchester Village, a post-World War II suburban housing development in Richmond where African Americans were able to buy homes. Many of the homeowners, including Turner's father, were war industry workers who had come from the South in search of employment. He discusses the development of the community, education, and race relations in Richmond.
Photo of Kenneth Tye
Kenneth Tye
Date of Interview: 2/6/2012
Interviewer: Javier Arbona with David Dunham

Having grown up in Port Chicao during the Depression and lived there through the 1944 explosion, Mr. Tye provides his recollections of everyday life in the town, including positive experiences as well as the bigotry and segregation. He recalls highlights of the war, including Pearl Harbor and rationing/recycling. Mr. Tye recalls the explosion in Port Chicago and expresses his views on the rebuilding efforts and the Navy’s subsequent condemnation and demolishing of the town.
Photo of Eva Vassar
Eva Vassar
Interviewer: Robin Li
Date of Interview: 5/16/2012

Eva J. Vassar was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma in 1922; her father was a minister and her mother was a schoolteacher. Having always aspired to go “far, far away,” Vassar signed up with the National Youth Administration to be trained for wartime industry. After training, Vassar traveled to Seattle, where she found work repairing damaged ships in the Bremerton Shipyards. Vassar recounts her experiences with wartime Jim Crow as she traveled through the South, dormitory life with the National Youth Administration in Bremerton, the skills and challenges of welding inside and outside large ships, and the sense of pride and patriotism of watching the repaired ships leave port.

Photo of John Vincent
John Vincent
Interviewer: Judith Dunning
Date of Interview: 6/25/2003

In this interview, John Vincent talks about the history of the Richmond Yacht Club, of which he was an early member; its displacement by the shipbuilding activities of World War II; how it survived the war; and its second life after the war. He discusses security and patriotism during the war years, with some reference to the internment of the Japanese and Italians. He talks about MacDonald Avenue and Richmond before, during, and after the war. During the war, he worked as an engineer at Chevron's research and development department, developing and supplying new forms of lubricant for large vehicles and submarines. This is the second interview the Regional Oral History Office has conducted with Vincent; he was first interviewed in 1990 as part of the Richmond Community History Oral History Series.
Photo of Jamie and Louise Voorhies
Jamie and Louise Voorhies
Date of Interview: May 31, 2006
Interviewer: Nadine Wilmot

Jamie and Louise Voorhies had been married for more than 65 years at the time of this interview. Jamie was born and raised in rural Nebraska; Louise is from Denver, Colorado, where they met and married. He came to Richmond to work in the shipyards after training in Denver. She followed shortly after, and they settled in Richmond and raised a family. They are lifelong Kaiser Health Plan members who were part of Kaiser Hospital's volunteer corps until recently. This interview explores some of the signal events of World War II from the home front vantage point; work in the shipyards; perspectives on sexuality and gender roles, race, and ethnicity; and urban change in Richmond. It presents a complicated picture of class, identity, and economic mobility for Americans.
Photo of Margaret Walton

Margaret Walton
Date of Interview: 10/5/2011
Interviewer: Sam Redman

Margaret Walton grew up in Oakland, California and went to nursing school at UC San Francisco during World War II.  In this interview, she talks about growing up during the Great Depression, her experiences at UC Berkeley, and then at UCSF nursing school, in the context of the war. She describes her memories of Pearl Harbor day, blackouts, rationing, Japanese internment, USO dances and FDR’s passing.  She recalls her family before and during the war and how they managed, including her mother’s decision to work at the Army Depot Station.  Eventually, she married and moved to San Leandro, California.

Photo of Hubert Webster
Hubert Webster
Interviewer: Judith Dunning
Date of Interview: 12/12/2002

Hubert Edward Webster was born in Louisiana, where his family farmed and his father worked in a sawmill, and moved to the Bay Area following the war. In this interview, he talks about his early life and work in rural Louisiana, being drafted into the military and being stationed overseas, and returning home after the war. His interview gives insight into the terrain of postwar Richmond. Webster is joined in this interview by his wife, Cecile, who discusses raising a family and the changes Richmond has seen over the years.
Photo of Bernard Weisberger

Bernard Weisberger
Date of Interview: 9/6/2011
Interviewer: Sam Redman

Bernard Weisberger was born in New York in 1922. He attended Columbia University and enlisted in the army in 1942. Mr. Weisberger details his time in the Pacific, army culture, and his training in signal intelligence. An autobiographical account of the war written by Mr. Weisberger is deposited in The Bancroft Library along with this interview transcript.

Photo of Doris Whitt

Doris Whitt
Date of Interview: 3/21/2012
Interviewer: Sam Redman

Doris Whitt recalls her childhood in Oklahoma during the Depression, including experiencing the Dust Bowl. She describes her training to be a welder and her move with her new husband to southern California to work at Douglas Aircraft during World War II. She describes her welding experience, her move to the Bay Area and helping to build liberty ships. She reflects on the war, its end and how life has changed.

Photo of Josephine Wikelund

Josephine Wikelund
Date of Interview: 2/14/2011
Interviewer: Sam Redman

Josephine Wikelund was born in 1922 and raised in Independence, Kansas. During World War II she worked for the Boeing Company in Wichita as a riveter and later as a liaison clerk transporting blueprints. Ms. Wikelund saw the transition from B-17s to B-29s during her time at Boeing, and gives a first-hand account of relations between the sexes as women entered the paid workforce during the war.

Photo of Dallas Wilcox
Dallas Wilcox
Interviewer: Brendan Furey
Date of Interview: 1/19/2005

A native of the Bay Area who grew up in North Oakland, Dallas Wilcox was a slinger in the Richmond shipyards when he was 17 years old. He also worked in the Moore Dry Dock shipyard. This interview contains rich descriptions of the Bay Area before, during, and after the war, and of shipyard work.

Photo of Lee Wilson
Lee Wilson
Date of Interview: 6/22/06
Interviewer: Nadine Wilmot

Lee Wilson traveled by train to Oakland from Arkansas in June 1943. She came to join her husband, who had preceded her to the Bay Area to participate in the wartime employment boom. Upon her arrival, she moved to Richmond and began working in Kaiser Shipyard 4, where she worked for the remainder of the war. Soon after, she joined the North Richmond Missionary Baptist Church. She discusses her wartime work in the shipyards and membership in the boilermakers' union, the internment of the Japanese, and some signal events of World War II, wartime rationing strategies, and housing in Richmond during and after the war. This interview also creates a more complex picture of migration.
Photo of Norma Wilson

Norma Wilson [Transcript in progress]
Date of Interview: 2/31/2011
Interviewer: David Dunham

Norma Wilson was born May 9, 1921 in Pasadena, California. During the Great Depression her family relocated to San Francisco, where they eventually settled in Walnut Creek, California and built a house for $500. After graduating from Concord High School in 1939, Mrs. Wilson attended San Francisco State and regularly went to “Peace Committee” meetings in the city. During World War II she relocated to Berkeley and worked for General Cable in Emeryville. At General Cable she worked primarily with women, many of whom had relocated to the Bay Area while their husbands were at war. After the war, she finished her education at San Francisco State, earning her teaching certificate. She would go on to teach in Santa Barbara, California, and eventually the Big Island of Hawaii, where she would later marry.

Photo of Patricia Wilson

Patricia Wilson
Date of Interview: 7/8/2010
Interviewer: Julie Stein

Patricia Wilson recalls growing up during the Depression, living in Oregon and California, and finishing hisg school in Berkeley. She expresses her memories of Pearl Harbor as a freshman at UC Berkeley and talks about military programs on campus and female students entertaining servicemen during the war. She recounts her work in the Maritime Child Development Center, starting in 1943, and describes in detail the aspects and components of the center, including curriculum and philosophy and the racial and ethnic make-up of the students and teachers. She gives her views of the importance of women working during the war.

Photo of Vie Taylor Wims
Vie Taylor Wims
Interviewer: Nadine Wilmot
Date of Interview: 3/1/2005

Vie Taylor Wims is a retired African American realtor who worked for Neatha Williams, the major realtor in Richmond working with African Americans looking to buy a home. This interview focuses on changes in the housing market during and after World War II, as well as strategies developed to secure home loans for black property buyers. Wims also worked as a burner at Moore Dry Dock. She came to the Bay Area from Texas during World War II.

Photo of Warren Wise
Warren Wise
Interviewer: Javier Arbona
Date of Interview: 7/13/2010


Born in San Francisco, Warren Wise grew up in Pittsburgh, California. Being dyslexic, he struggled in school and taught himself to read. He joined the Coast Guard during the Korean War and used the GI Bill to earn a Master’s in Industrial Education and Teaching at San Jose State University.  In this interview, he remembers the Port Chicago Disaster, specifically his and his parents’ involvement in treating the casualties and the nature of the injuries. He also discusses at length his struggles with dyslexia.

Photo of Bernadine Wong

Bernadine Wong
Interviewer: Jess Rigelhaupt
Date of Interview: 11/28/2007

The seventh of twelve children, Bernadine Wong was born in Locke, moved to Courtland, and spent her elementary school years in Nevada City. In 1942, her family moved to Oakland to run a grocery store. She remembers singing in the adult choir at an episcopal church in Nevada City, and the diversity she found after moving to Oakland. She offers a view of war rationing from the perspective of running her family’s grocery stores, and a tale of racial and ethnic integration through the foods requested by the family’s diverse customers. She also talks about going to war bond rallies and seeing the housing shortages during World War II.

Photo of Dorothy Wright
Dorothy Wright
Interviewer: David Dunham
Date of Interview: 3/26/2003

Dorothy Wright was born in Oregon, and traveled by boat with her parents to the Bay Area in 1921 as an infant. She lived in Oakland and worked in Richmond during the war. In this interview she discusses her family background and her young adult years in the workforce: working at Montgomery Ward in Oakland, as a telephone operator charged with decommissioning the telephone accounts of Japanese households set for internment, and in the human resources department of Standard Oil at the height of wartime hiring. This interview offers insight into gender, race, and ethnic relations before and during the war. Duration:
Lucille Zisenhenne
Lucille Ziesenhenne
Interviewer: Jess Rigelhaupt
Date of Interview: 2/12/2003

Lucille Ziesenhenne has lived in Richmond since 1936. In her interview, she discusses how Richmond changed from a "sleepy town" to an industrial center during World War II. She also details her experiences working for the War Manpower Commission in Richmond.

Copyright © 2014 The Regents of the University of California. All Rights Reserved
Comments & Suggestions |Last Updated: 07/14/14 | Server manager: Contact

 
`x` The Bancroft Library Website Regional Oral History Office Home Page UC Berkeley Library