On a recent bright and beautiful Saturday morning, several folks got together to visit the Richmond Shoreline for a bike tour of California’s Rosie the Riveter Memorial and other historic sights hosted by Outdoor Afro Sela Steiger. This was the first of several planned events this year designed to connect people all over the country to our local National Parks.
Invited by two wonderful National Park Rangers, Raphael and Reggie, we learned so much about the historic Richmond area and engaged in compelling conversation about the rich, complex historic diversity surrounding this part of the Bay Area.
We began the tour noticing some memorial plaques and informational engravings at the meet-up point. Then we hopped on our bikes and visited the Ford Assembly Building; a former Model-A factory which now houses Title Nine Clothing, Mountain Hardware, and SunPower‘s R&D unit, among other new businesses. From this vantage we could also see Shipyard No. 3, the last remaining shipyard from the WWII manufacturing boom of the 1940s.
Back on our bikes, we cruised to the Rosie the Riveter Memorial, an interesting architectural sculpture meant to resemble the hull of a ship. Guided by our expert leaders, the group was encouraged to consider the voices of the “Rosies”; women who worked in these shipyards, representing many of the first African American settlers in the region who fled the Jim Crow South in search of better opportunities.
We talked about the ways in which the increase of civilian labor associated with WWII opened doors for marginalized groups (women, Blacks, and Asian American workers); many of these individuals were accepted into jobs previously denied to them, although often with a cost.
With an emphasis on discovery and critical thought, as well as enjoying the beautiful Richmond Shoreline, the Rosie the Riveter tour proved an enlightening way to spend a Saturday. Check out their website for more information.
Photo Credit: Irene Nexica