Betty Reid Soskin is, at 93, the oldest national park ranger in the United States. She came to the Bay Area in 1927 as a six-year old girl, and now works at the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond. Soskin’s tours reflect her perspective as an African-American woman in the Bay Area during the war. She says the park is a place where, “America can revisit its past and move together to a more compassionate future.” We’ll talk to Soskin as part of Forum’s First Person series profiling the leaders, innovators and others who make our region unique.

America’s Oldest Park Ranger Brings History to Life at Richmond’s Rosie the Riveter Park 14 September,2017Michael Krasny

Betty Reid Soskin, park ranger, National Park Service

  • CaliforniaLiveOak

    Great show! What a lovely voice to bring us all this rich history.

  • I am so glad to hear Betty Reid Soskin’s story. What a wonderful example of bravery. Ms. Reid Soskin is a trailblazer, and it’s because of her experiences and sacrifices that I am able to move forward in this world that we live in. She is one of my Sheroes!

  • Ben Rawner

    How does your guest think the park service can capture the imagination of youth in this ever increasing technological world?

    Would your guest ever go to outer space if she could?

    • Tonia

      Are you serious Ben? seriously?

  • 1PeterDuMont2STARALLIANCE8

    “I outlived my rage without outliving my passion.” Wow. What a statement! Thank you to the Honorable Ranger Soskin.

    It’s another way of expressing an essential wisdom: “Good Will comes before peace.” The goal of overcoming slight and injury with integrity isn’t a peace of lassitude, rather: achieving dynamic inner calm and making choices for positive direction and better outcomes for all.

  • ES Trader

    It’s amazing at the absence of hostility at the bigotry that she experienced and demands for apologies !
    Even in the early 70’s Alamo was unwelcome to Curt Flood, the first MLB player to declare free agency.

    Please comment on your advice between African Americans and law enforcement today.

  • vinhboy

    I am kind of amazed at how cogent and reflective Betty is at her age. Maybe it’s because I spend too much time listening to our Congress-people who seem to have learned nothing during their long life. What’s Betty secret for keeping her mind so sharp and open?

  • Gerl

    Betty Reid Soskin is the ideal image of “role model,” instead of what too many of us are considering as such. People like her should be in our history (& herstory) books ahead of many that are there now. Listening to this segment has inspired me.

  • JCB

    I have had the privilege of being on one of her tours and she is amazing and what wisdom she has to offer. I wish everyone could have heard her interview yesterday and take a trip to the Richmond Visitor’s Center. My father did work at that shipyard and I was so happy to find a home for the possessions I had from those days.

  • Susannah Patton

    Thank you for a great interview! Very inspiring.

  • Milton Chen

    With the National Park Service Centennial coming up in 2016, many more Americans should get to know Betty’s story, including students. Thanks to Forum for this oral history lesson.

  • Edward Irons

    I rarely comment here, but feel compelled to. Betty’s wonderfully silky voice, her wisdom and balanced perspective were all amazing. Top marks for sharing this guest with us, Forum.


Michael Krasny

Michael Krasny, PhD, has been in broadcast journalism since 1983. He was with ABC in both radio and television and migrated to public broadcasting in 1993. He has been Professor of English at San Francisco State University and also taught at Stanford, the University of San Francisco and the University of California, as well as in the Fulbright International Institutes. A veteran interviewer for the nationally broadcast City Arts and Lectures, he is the author of a number of books, including “Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life” (Stanford University Press) “Spiritual Envy” (New World); “Sound Ideas” (with M.E. Sokolik/ McGraw-Hill); “Let There Be Laughter” (Harper-Collins) as well as the twenty-four lecture series in DVD, audio and book, “Short Story Masterpieces” (The Teaching Company). He has interviewed many of the world’s leading political, cultural, literary, science and technology figures, as well as major figures from the world of entertainment. He is the recipient of many awards and honors including the S.Y. Agnon Medal for Intellectual Achievement; The Eugene Block Award for Human Rights Journalism; the James Madison Freedom of Information Award; the Excellence in Journalism Award from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association; Career Achievement Award from the Society of Professional Journalists and an award from the Radio and Television News Directors Association. He holds a B.A. (cum laude) and M.A. from Ohio University and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin.

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