During World War II, the United States needed women to enter the workforce while men were away at war. The “Rosie the Riveter” campaign “stressed the patriotic need for women to enter the workforce.”
The image of Rosie the Riveter was printed in magazines, newspapers, and posters that were hung throughout cities. The image showed a woman in a spotted headscarf. The words “We Can Do It!” are above her head.
The artist for the Rosie the Riveter propaganda never released his inspiration for the image. However, there have been several women who claim that they are likely the inspiration—one of these women is Naomi Parker Fraley.
James J. Kimble is a scholar of Rhetoric & Public Affairs. He supported the idea that Naomi Parker Fraley is the inspiration behind Rosie the Riveter.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Naomi started working at a Naval Air Station in California. She started working very early on in the war. While working one day, photos were taken of women working at the station.
One of those photos was credited with being the inspiration for the artist who created Rosie the Riveter. That photo was of Naomi Parker Fraley.
Apparently, when Naomi was told that she was the real Rosie the Riveter, she didn’t make a big deal out of it. Her daughter-in-law shared, “She didn’t think she was anything special. A lot of women did what she did. She just wanted her picture corrected.”
All of this happened in 2015. Naomi Parker Fraley died last week at the age of 96. She was in hospice care.
For so long, she didn’t know she was the real inspiration behind the iconic posters. Luckily, she was informed before her death. Now her family and friends can remember her as the incredible woman that she was, while the rest of America remembers the “We Can Do It” posters.
In other news, Hollywood’s oldest working actress just died at age 105. Read the story here.