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Rosie the Riveter’s Love Letters
October 30, 2019 @ 3:15 pm
Dr. Altha Cravey, associate professor of geography, will present the talk “Rosie the Riveter’s Love Letters.”
The talk analyzes World War II era correspondence between the speaker’s parents. Deeply in love and anxious to have children, they put these desires on hold while her father was on active duty and stationed for nearly two years in India and Burma with the US Army. Her mother found a way to support the war effort too and moved across the country to work in the steel industry in Pittsburgh. Her action provokes a lot of anxious commentary in the father’s daily letters home. A product of a rural, Jim Crow, southern environment, he regularly proclaims his love while also frequently weaving in concerns and doubts about women working in factories and serving in the military. The speaker uses these intimate conversations as a window to examine the changing dynamics of gender, race, social reproduction and households in the US. at a time when the country is becoming a global superpower. Like the iconic Rosie the Riveter, her mother’s value in waged work was short lived.