Betty Reid Soskin (September 22, 1921), is a force of nature! At age 99, she is the oldest active National Park Ranger serving the United States. She is assigned to the Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front Park National Historical Park in Richmond, California, which she helped to establish.
For the past 17 years Soskin has worked as an interpretive park ranger educating thousands of visitors. She shares the invisible histories of African Americans, from the days of her slave great-grandmother who was freed by Abraham Lincoln, through WWII and up to the present. Soskin is vocal about the value of American democracy, and the importance of continuing progress. She encourages other women and people of color to share their stories.
Soskin authored Sign My Name To Freedom, which chronicles her eclectic experiences as a young worker in a WWII-segregated union hall, a singer, activist, mother, legislative representative, and park planner. A documentary called No Time to Waste celebrates the legendary park ranger and her inspiring life.
Over the years Betty Soskin has also been honored with many awards, including the National Parks and Conservation Association’s Winks Award, and a Presidential medal given to her personally by President Barack Obama. In 2018 Soskin was named one of Glamour magazine’s “Women of the Year”.
Soskin has been recognized nationally and locally as one of the unsung heroes of the civil rights movement. She is a treasure, today we celebrate Her Story.
“The history that I have lived it was nowhere in sight. Not one minute of it. The opportunity to insert the African American stories is what the park became to me.”
— Betty Reid Soskin