Betty Reid Soskin, of Louisiana Creole heritage, is a native of Oakland and was witness to the massive in-migration of Southerners during the 1940’s.
During the war she worked in the administrative offices of a black auxiliary union in the shipyards as well as the federal government. Soskin started with her first husband the famous Reid’s music store on Sacramento Street in Berkeley. She is active in Bay Area Democratic politics
(born 1923) is a prominent Creole-American figure of California history.
She was born and raised in Louisiana until a Katrina in scope hurricane destroyed her family's home and business. At this point her kin relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1927.She lived and worked alternatively in Oakland[, Berkeley and Richmond. Served as field representative for Assemblywomen Dion Aroner and Loni Hancock for many years. Before that time co-founded Reid's Records in South Berkeley with husband, Mel Reid, in June, 1945, a small still-standing black business.
Her formative years were spent in Oakland. She worked for Boilermakers A-36, a Jim Crow all-black union auxiliary during WWII. Does not consider herself a legitimate "Rosie, female World War II shipyard workers. In 1995 she was honored by the California legislature as the woman of the year.[She was also honored as National Women’s History Project’s Builders of Communities and Dreams in 2006.
She became a prominent community activist over the years. In 2007 she became the a National Park Ranger for Rosie The Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historic Park in Richmond in addition to being the oldest incoming or employed park ranger.. Attended President Obama's Inauguration a guest of Rep. George Miller.