A Conversation with Betty Reid Soskin
Interviewed by Brenda Payton
Date & Time:
Sunday, June 30, 2019
Epworth United Methodist Church
1953 Hopkins St
Berkeley, CA 9470
Betty Reid Soskin grew up in a Cajun/Creole African- American family that settled in Oakland at the end of World War I, following the pattern set by the black railroad workers who served as sleeping car porters, waiters, and chefs for Southern Pacific and Santa Fe railroads – settling their families at the western end of their run where life might be less impacted by southern hostility.
Betty worked in a segregated union hall, Boilermaker’s A- 36, during World War. In 1945 she and her husband, Mel Reid, opened Reid's Records. Betty has held positions as a field representative for two members of the California State Assembly: Assemblywoman Dion Aroner and Senator Loni Hancock. She was instrumental in the establishment of the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in 2000. She is the recipient of numerous awards and the author of Sign My Name to Freedom, Memoir of a Pioneering Life.
Brenda Payton has been a journalist for more than 40 years. Most recently, she a regular freelancer for the San Francisco Chronicle and was a columnist at the Oakland Tribune for 26 years. She has been a reporter at the San Francisco Examiner, the Boston Phoenix and the New Bedford Standard Times.
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This event is co-sponsored by Epworth United Methodist Church’s Older Adult Program & Ashby Village, celebrating their 10th Anniversary Year.