Betty Reid Soskin to receive Congressional honor


For Betty Reid Soskin, when it rains love, it pours.

Adding to the outpouring of support and recognition following her courageous stand against a violent home invader in June, the 95-year-old Soskin is set to be presented on Friday with a Congressional Record statement by Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11).

The event is set to take place at 10 a.m. at the Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historic Park, 1414 Harbour Way South, according to the congressman’s office.

The latest of several major honors for Soskin has further cemented her reputation as a national icon.

After serving as a file clerk in a Jim Crow segregated union auxiliary during WWII, and then years later taking part in planning the Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front park, Soskin has become famous for the historical storytelling tours she continues to provide visitors of the Richmond waterfront.

In December, she was invited to introduce President Barack Obama at the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. During that trip, she received a commemorative coin from the president that was later stolen during a violent burglary in her Richmond home.

In June, she was attacked and robbed in her second-floor apartment as she slept. She was dragged and punched during a struggle with the thief but managed to flee and lock herself in her bathroom, where she fetched her iron, preparing to defend herself.

“I plugged it in and set it to linen which is the hottest. I figured if he would come in I would brand him and that would mark him for the police,” Soskin told KTVU-Ch. 2 after the attack.

After the burglary, Soskin returned to work within weeks. During a surprise ceremony in Concord on July 17, she received a replacement commemorative presidential coin to replace the one that was stolen.

And for her 95th birthday last month, she celebrated with the Secretary of Interior in Washington D.C. while touring the brand new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

DeSaulnier says Friday’s ceremony won’t just honor her bravery during the violent attack, but also her “courage and determination throughout her life.”

Photo: From the National Tree Lighting Ceremony in December 2015, courtesy of NPS.


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