California Educator

December / January 2017

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A S A Y O U N G African American woman living in Oak- land during World War II, Betty Soskin learned firsthand about the racial discrimination black Americans faced then. Now, at age 96, serving as a docent and park ranger at the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, Soskin has the insight and wisdom to put it into perspective. She does just that in Fighting for the Right to Fight: African American Experiences in WWII, an "electronic field trip" sponsored by the National WWII Museum. e 50-minute program, which will be live-streamed Feb. 22, is designed to bring out important issues from the war years to students in their classrooms — warts and all. For African Americans, the war was another turning point in civil rights history. "The state of the union was very different than it is now," says Soskin, who worked as a clerk in the segre- gated boilermakers union during the war era. "Looking back, I've become aware that some change is immediate, some takes decades, some is generational. I've lived long enough to learn that change comes in cycles." The WWII Museum's presentation begins with a recorded interview of Soskin by Maceo Carney, a fresh- man student at Jefferson High School in Daly City. Later, in another recorded segment, Carney explores the Port Chicago Naval Magazine on Suisun Bay, where the worst home front disaster of the war took place. A learning experience Interviewing Soskin about conditions during the war and learning about the incident at Port Chicago made an impression on Carney. He says the experience made Lessons in Civil Rights During WWII An electronic field trip brings vivid local stories to life By Dina Martin Student Maceo Carney interviewed Betty Soskin about African Americans' experiences in World War II. 56 Teaching & Learning

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