Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Local Rosies Honored as Women in History by Fayetteville DAR

Pictured (l-r) are James Waldrop Chapter DAR American History Chairman Phyllis King with Fayette County Rosies Sybil Hill, Dot Miller and Betty Dodds.

The James Waldrop Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution in Fayetteville recently honored three Fayette County women with the Woman in American History Award 2009.

During World War II, six million women joined the workforce , shattering myths of a woman's place and paving the way for future generations to become viable workers in the job market.

They were collectively called "Rosie, the Riveter" but performed many jobs. Three million women were Red Cross volunteers and Civil Defense workers. Two million were clerical workers, and one million were hired by the federal government.

In the 1943 issue of Newsweek magazine, those jobs were listed as work in shipyards, lumber mills, steel mills, and foundries. These women were the first generation to break out of the mold as homemakers as they became mechanics, boilermakers, and operated streetcars, buses, cranes, and tractors. They served as police officers, taxi drivers, lawyers, and journalists. They ran farms, planted crops, tended animals, and sewed uniforms.

The efforts of these women's wartime production included 296,429 airplanes, 102,351 tanks, 372,431 artillery pieces, 47 tons of artillery ammunition, 87,620 warships, 44 billion rounds of small arms ammunition, not to mention countless numbers of documents and material.

Even though considered ordinary, they pulled together to perform an extraordinary service to their country and America's full might was realized during a time of great need.

Betty Dodds had just moved to Fargo, North Dakota, in 1944 after graduating from High School, when she received a letter from the Federal Government asking her to come for an interview with the Office of Price Administration. At the tender age of 18, she went to work typing letters in answer to questions about quotas, pricing and rationing. She recalls the noise of many typists as they worked and the huge volumes of catalogued restrictions used to find the answers to questions.

After graduation in 1944, Sybil Hill of Mansfield, Georgia, moved to Atlanta to seek work. She found work in a defense plant on Sawtell Ave. across from the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary. While at the defense plant she riveted and bucked the rivets in PBY plane wings. She was small and could climb inside the wing to buck the rivet more easily than some women. She remembers making $27-28 dollars a week in comparison to $17-18 a week in other jobs.

Dot Miller grew up in College Park, Georgia, and at age 19 went to work for the Immigration and Naturalization Service at 101 Marietta St. in Atlanta, Georgia. Her job was to fast track the citizenship applications of foreign born service men who wanted to go overseas to fight for the USA. If these immigrants had been captured fighting for the USA, their acts would have been considered treasonous to other countries and would be executed.

The contributions of these women and all the women who left the shelter of staying at home full time to serve their country were the beginnings of the woman's movement in America. No longer were women satisfied to sit at home. These women proved to themselves and the world that they, too, could have a positive impact in the workplace.

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