What does Richmond’s own Betty Reid Soskin have in common with Sen. Kamala Harris and celebrity artists Chrissy Teigen, Viola Davis, and Janelle Monae? They have all been named 2018 Women of the Year by Glamour Magazine. Glamour’s Women of the Year honors trailblazers and newsmakers from around the world.
Soskin, who, at 97, is the oldest National Park Service ranger, received the Lifetime Achievement honor as well as a write-up in the major magazine that’s well-worth reading (click here). The article summarizes Soskin’s life, her role in helping establish the Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, and her ongoing work in preserving the historical accounts of minority groups.
The Richmond community is well aware of Soskin’s accomplishments. The national icon known for deep wisdom in her written and oral interpretations of past, present and future, is a local hero and consistent newsmaker. In the last three years, the Standard has published nearly a dozen stories about her accomplishments (some of those links are below).
This year, she became an author after publishing a book chronicling her life, Sign My Name To Freedom. Earlier this year, her words at the 2018 MAKERS conference rang with a power that garnered a lot of notice, including from Richmond Mayor Tom Butt.
There was one story we wished we didn’t have to write involving Soskin. It’s the article about how she was attacked and robbed in her Hilltop-area apartment in 2016. She was punched several times and dragged across the floor by the robber, who stole a number of items including the commemorative coin she received from President Barack Obama.
Glamour recounted that story, adding that Soskin, who returned to work just weeks after the assault, would receive a replacement coin from President Obama. The magazine article added a detail we did not previously know.
“When she caught him in the act, he punched her,” the article states. “So she reached up his ‘trousers,’ as she calls them, and squeezed the hell out of his crown jewels.”
It’s just one reason she’s known as the Notorious B.R.S.
In a response to the Glamour article on Facebook, where Soskin occasionally shares her wisdom, Soskin stated, “And on, and on, and on .. ad infinitum! What a world …”
The magazine edition Soskin is featured in has been been released in New York and Los Angeles but won’t be distributed nationwide until this Friday, she said.