18 Stunning Photos Of Black Women At Work During World War II

Thanks to the iconic image of Rosie the Riveter, most people picture white women when they think of women entering the workforce during World War II. But these inspiring photos will remind you that women of color were heroes during the war, as well.

1. Lt. Harriet Ida Pickens and Ens. Frances Wills, 1944.

The U.S. National Archives / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: usnationalarchives

2. A woman working on a dive bomber in Tennessee, 1943.

Alfred T. Palmer / Library of Congress / Via loc.gov

3. A woman working at the Douglas Aircraft Company in Long Beach, California.

Library of Congress / Via loc.gov

4. A group of nurses including Lts. Prudence L. Burns, Inez Holmes, and Birdie E. Brown receiving mail from home in 1943.

5. According to the Library of Congress, “Plant foremen point to 20-year-old Annie Tabor as one of their best lathe operators, despite her lack of previous industrial experience.”

National Archives / Via research.archives.gov

6. Black women working for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company, 1943.

Black History Album / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: blackheritage

7. An African-American riveter at work in Burbank, California.

Wikipedia Commons / Via commons.wikimedia.org

8. Three nurses at work in June 1944.

Wikipedia Commons / Via commons.wikimedia.org

9. According to the Library of Congress, Juanita E. Gray began as a helper paid $4.56 a day in the Washington Navy Yard. After she graduated from National Youth Administration War Production and Training Center, she began earning $45 per week.

Library of Congress / Via loc.gov

10. A woman working in the El Segundo Plant of the Douglas Aircraft Company.

Library of Congress / Via loc.gov

11. Pfc. Johnnie Mae Welton working in a lab at Fort Jackson Station Hospital in 1944.

National Archives / Via research.archives.gov

12. From the National Archives: “Hospital Apprentices second class Ruth C. Isaacs, Katherine Horton and Inez Patterson (left to right) are the first Negro WAVES to enter the Hospital Corps School at National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, MD, 03/02/1945.”

National Archives / Via research.archives.gov

13. Willa Beatrice Brown was the first black woman to earn a pilot’s license in the US, and is widely credited with helping to create the squadron that became known as the Tuskegee Airmen.

National Archives / Via research.archives.gov

14. Pvt. Ruth L. James, 1945.

National Archives / Via research.archives.gov

15. US Navy WAVE Apprentice Seaman Frances Bates, 1945.

National Archives / Via ww2db.com

16. WAAC cooks making dinner, 1942.

17. Two WAACs at work in Washington, DC in 1942.

18. A woman taking an exam at Officers’ Candidate School, 1942.

National Archives / Via research.archives.gov

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