When you think of the Women’s Rights Movement in the United States, what iconic images come to mind?
How about Rosie the Riveter? She’s strong, she’s capable and she’s ready to take on the job of any man. Her image has evolved from its roots as a propaganda tool (encouraging women to enter the workforce during WWII) into a cultural icon for women’s rights across the United States. Rosie is a patriot. Rosie is a symbol. And in most depictions, Rosie is white. Which begs the question, what role did African American women play during the women’s movement? Who were the real-life Black Rosies?
In the beginning, many African American women didn’t know how the movement included them, seeing little that resonated with their own lives. There were more issues to address beyond gender oppression in their minds, including race & class inequities.
We invite you to watch a clip from Makers: The Women who Make America, premiering February 26th, and explore the racial & class issues many Black women faced during the Women’s Rights Movement in addition to gender oppression. Then we want to know what you think! What role did Black women play in the Women’s Movement? Who do you consider a real-life Rosie today?!