During World War II, the city of Richmond quadrupled in size when about 70,000 workers flocked to work at the shipyards that dotted the bay’s shoreline. At the height of the war, women made up more than a quarter of the Richmond shipyard workforce. For the first time, women were allowed to work in high-paying trades, previously only done by men.
Betty Reid Soskin was four years old when she moved to the East Bay – she grew up there in a Creole and Cajun community from New Orleans. Soskin says the Bay Area quickly became a hub of wartime shipbuilding.