Yesterday, I was getting some ducks in order for the Brooklyn Navy Yard Oral History Project we’re working on and browsing through some audio recordings to double check dates of birth and I happened to listen to two striking moments.
In one, a woman who grew up in Red Hook in the 1920s and 1930s breaks into tears when she talks about having to end her schooling and go to work. She was a proud honors student but she didn”t finish high school. In the second, a woman who worked as a welder in the Brooklyn Navy Yard during WWII talks about how she would have loved to continue her career as a welder but no one would hire a woman; you can hear the disappointment and frustation in her voice but this interview was conducted in 1989 and you can also hear how resigned she is to that being the way it all went.
Women’s History Month is a week away now. In February, there was lots of public conversation about Black History Month and whether it’s still necessary after Obama’s historic election. I always feel a little funny about the History Months but the fact remains that Black History and Women’s History are still not given fair enough play during the rest of the year. And so much has changed in such a short amount of time there’s a lot to think about and discuss so, both months still seem important. But ungh, I remember calling radio station programmers on behalf of Voices of Public Intellectuals, a feminist radio series produced at Radcliffe, and there was always a handful of station managers who would respond, “Oh but Women’s History Month already passed…”
That said, we do have some great events coming up in the spirit of Women’s History Month:
Wednesday, February 25
Seminar Application Deadline
Listening to Women: Documenting Women’s Lives Through Oral History
Thursday, March 5, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
Discussion – Women Veterans: Citizen-Soldiers in Changing Times