- Catalog No. —
- OrHist 9081
- Date —
- June 11, 1981
- Era —
- 1921-1949 (Great Depression and World War II), 1950-1980 (New Economy, Civil Rights, and Environmentalism), 1981-Present (Recent Oregon History)
- Themes —
- Black History, Transportation and Communication, Women
- Credits —
- Oregon Historical Society
- Regions —
- Columbia River Portland Metropolitan
- Author —
- Christine Poole & Madeline Moore, Oral Historians
Beatrice Marshall's Oral History
Beatrice Marshall was interviewed by Christine Poole and Madeline Moore as part of the Northwest Women’s History Project. In this transcribed excerpt of her interview, she recalls her experiences in Portland’s shipbuilding industry during World War II. An unabridged version of this transcript can be viewed at the Oregon Historical Society’s research library.
After receiving specialized training for war-time industrial labor, Beatrice Marshall and her sister Ida moved to Portland to exploit their new skills in the city’s shipbuilding industry. Because the war had sapped the nation’s industrial workforce of a large portion of its male workers, industrialists like Henry J. Kaiser, began to hire women in large numbers. Like many other women, Beatrice and Ida hoped to take advantage of the newfound employment opportunities. Unfortunately, the two sisters found that the color of their skin precluded them from most job prospects that were available to white women. Regardless of their specialized training, they were confined to jobs that required them to either push a broom, scrub floors, or scrape paint.
Kesselman, Amy Vita. Fleeting Opportunities: Women Shipyard Workers in Portland and Vancouver during World War II and Reconversion. Albany, N.Y., 1990.
“Collections: Oral History Interview: Kathryn Hall Bogle on the African-American Experience in Wartime Portland.” Oregon Historical Society 93, 1993: 394 – 405.
“Reminiscence: Pat Koehler on the Women Shipbuilders of World War II.” Oregon Historical Quarterly 91, 1990: 285–291.
Honey, Maureen. Creating Rosie the Riveter: Class, Gender, and Propaganda During WW II. Amherst, Mass., 1984.
Written by Joshua Binus, © Oregon Historical Society, 2003.
Related Historical Records
Handbook for New Women Shipyard Workers
In 1943 Portland Public Schools produced a handbook designed to orient new women workes to life in the shipyards. One section dealt with the problems of childcare. During World War …
Iona Murphy at Oregon Shipbuilding Corp., Portland
This ca. 1943 photograph, taken by Ray Atkeson, shows Iona Murphy welding in an assembly building at the Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation in Portland. During World War II, up …
Nightshift Arrives Portland Shipbuilding
During World War II, up to 125,000 people worked in around-the-clock shifts at shipyards in Portland and Vancouver, Washington. This photograph, taken by Ray Atkeson, shows nightshift workers …