African American women reminisce about their jobs, civil rights, and personal triumphs during World War II.
OUR PROJECT: HERSTORY
I hope Invisible Warriors: African American Women in World War II, moves your Spirit. Invisible Warriors features heroines, 83 to 105 years young, who are diverse and unforgettable -- hard working underdogs of high character who fight and win. You will feel the spirit of these extraordinary women as they reminisce about their wartime jobs, Depression-era hardships, and unflinching patriotism, even in the face of Jim Crow. Their smiles will transport you back to packed USO Clubs when the dance craze was “jitterbuggin’ and lindy hopppin’, and their eyes will twinkle and their faces blush recounting wartime romances with handsome G.I.s who would become their husbands. I hope you see what I see: World War II from their perspective. I hope your Spirit moves you to give…
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: www.invisiblewarriorsfilm.com
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Invisible Warriors has progressed to this critical stage because of dedicated professionals volunteering their work and their time and maxed-out credit cards. You can help us maintain momentum by donating and sending this Kickstarter page to your family, friends, co-workers, women’s organizations, veterans, and anyone else who loves a good story. Share this link on Facebook and Twitter. Word of mouth and positive “blasts” on the Net can make all the difference. Your generous, heartfelt contributions will allow you to actively participate in completing this wonderful story and in preserving a rare piece of American herstory. Invisible Warriors enriches all of our lives. The completed documentary will be donated to educational, cultural and civic organizations. Right now, you can feel good about making it happen!
HOW YOUR DONATIONS WILL BE USED
Your generous contributions will be used toward final production (scholars’ interviews) and editing, purchase of archival and copyrighted materials, and travel. Any contributions in excess of our fundraising goal will be used for promotion and marketing, which can increase our chances of getting Invisible Warriors into high-profile film festivals (like Sundance and Toronto), connect with domestic and international distribution. (Anything about World War II still resonates in European and Japanese markets.)
All interviews except of scholars Darlene Clark Hine (Northwestern University), Maureen Honey (University of Nebraska), and Brenda Moore (SUNY Buffalo), are complete.
Invisible Warriors is scheduled for completion in mid-2013. It will be donated to educators, cultural and civic organizations.
During World War II, Height secured quality, affordable housing for hundreds of African American women who came to Washington D.C. for government jobs.
Wilson left her job as a maid and laundress to become a sheet metal worker at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. She helped build the aircraft carrier USS Valley Forge.
Before volunteering for military service in World War II, Alyce Dixon was a buyer in the Pentagon, purchasing everything from “pencils to airplanes.”
In 1942, King earned an “Aircraft Riveting” certificate from the National Defense Training Program in Baltimore. King riveted the “elevator” section of the F4F Wildcat Navy Fighter.
After high school, Faison entered the National Youth Administration at Shaw University where she learned to build radios - training that helped her secure employment making communications components for the US Navy.
Bowman purchased War Bonds and visited USO Clubs on weekends to dance with soldiers.
Amaro was a dedicated member of San Sausi Club, a patriotic women’s organization that sent “care packages” to American soldiers overseas.
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A LABOR OF LOVE
Locating participants and filming Invisible Warriors has been a very personal experience for me. My late mother, “Becky” Jones, worked in the U.S. Patent Office during World War II. Her wartime stories, told to me during my childhood, motivated me to get a greater understanding of what it was like for her and thousands of Black women who entered job environments that had previously been almost exclusively white and male. Their challenges weren’t easy.
Coaxing our “Warriors” to talk about their World War II experiences was eye-opening. Unlike men, women are often reticent about “beating their chests” about their accomplishments. This was a generation - “the Greatest Generation” - that did not seek the limelight. I knew this was an important project when I discovered that families were often clueless about their mothers’ and grandmothers’ wartime accomplishments. While my Warriors all agreed that there is a need for present and future generations to understand what life was like for Black women during the 1940s and beyond, even then some remained reluctant to participate and hesitated to speak…
But, personal meetings with each of the Warriors before filming seemed to have a calming and reassuring effect. As we became friends they began to share family pictures and wartime mementos with me. I found myself holding ration books and training certificates and was transported back in time.
Once the camera started rolling, the ladies were “on.” I could see the twinkle in their eyes. I could feel their energy. My Warriors smiled when recounting how they met their husbands. Anger and tears sometimes surfaced as they recounted their battles with Jim Crow. Mostly, I saw pride when they recalled the impact that their jobs had on their future, now past, lives.
Sadly, Dr. Dorothy I. Height, President, National Council of Negro Women, passed away shortly after I interviewed her. Height was a Civil Rights "warrior," friend of Eleanor Roosevelt and protege of Mary Bethune. Height's life was fittingly eulogized by President Obama.
Then, just a few months later, we also lost Mary Ragland, a vivacious Private in the 6888th Postal Battalion. Mary sorted mail in England and France, and in her own words, was treated like a “queen” by Parisians. If you had met her, you would have agreed she deserved it.
I need your help because I want the remaining Warriors to attend the world premiere. Our Warriors are between 83 and 105 years young, so time is an issue. If our fundraising efforts are successful, Invisible Warriors: African American Women in World War II will be “in the can” (for you non film types, that means completed) by mid-2013. I have already entered discussions with a major venue for its premiere during Black History Month, 2014.
Won’t you join me?
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