The National Park Service employs many rangers across the country, but this week, one in particular is being celebrated. Ranger Betty Reid Soskin is a civil rights activist, musician, businesswoman, and just so happens to be celebrating her 100th birthday.
Betty has been making history long before she donned her ranger uniform. She founded one of the first Black-owned record stores in the Bay Area of California in 1945 with her late husband. Betty’s deep love of music also led her to write and perform herself. Since the 1960s, she has used song to support her activism against racism and political unrest in the United States.
Making Her Voice Heard
In 2000, Betty found her way to the National Park Service, aiding in the development of Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historic Park. She realized that a crucial part of history was being left out: the experience of racial segregation and discrimination she and other Black women experienced during the war. Betty saw it as her duty to share this with visitors and officially joined as a park ranger.
Throughout the years, Betty has captivated visitors with her storytelling. She has lived through so much history that many can only read about, and people come from all over the world to hear her experiences firsthand.
Now you don’t have to travel to California to hear Betty speak. The park offers virtual opportunities to hang out with Betty and listen to her talks most Thursday afternoons. Visit the official park website here for dates, as well as recorded sessions.
Happy 100th birthday Betty! Thanks for all you do!
Learn more about Betty Reid Soskin here and her incredible work with the National Park Service.