Longtime civil rights activist and writer Betty Reid Soskin, who has spoken to thousands of visitors at her weekly talks at the Rosie the Riveter Visitor Center in Richmond, is recovering from a stroke, her family said Sunday.
On Soskin’s Facebook account, her son Bob Reid posted Sunday:
“I am sure many of you have been wondering where Betty has been and I wanted to fill you in.”
“A while ago, while working at the Rosie the Riveter Visitor Center, Betty was showing evidence of suffering a stroke. She was taken to the hospital where that concern was confirmed.”
The announcement was made on Soskin’s 98th birthday and comes the day before a new documentary on her life titled “No Time to Waste” is scheduled for release by the Rosie the Riveter Trust.
“She has been in acute rehabilitation for the past week and it has taken much of our time and attention to address her needs and address the events of our own lives.”
Soskin, long known as the oldest active park ranger working for the National Park Service, has gained national fame for her observations and had maintained a full schedule of appearances until recently, when she took a break she attributed in social media posts to fatigue.
In publicity for the 50-minute documentary scheduled for a sold-out showing Monday in Sausalito, the Rosie the Riveter Trust describes her as:
“[A]n iron-willed American woman who became a national park ranger at age 85.”
“The great granddaughter of a slave, Betty has lived a life filled with painful and often humiliating memories… yet she remains a defiant voice of hope.”
Soskin has been a prolific blogger for years and a collection of the observations, insights and personal history she has posted was collected in a 2018 book “Sign my Name to Freedom.”
This year a CD collection of her talks was released.
Executive director of Rosie the Riveter Trust, Marsha Mather-Thrift, said:
“She’s comfortable and recovering and her family is there to support her.”
“We understand that people feel a desire to be of assistance and we are grateful for that.”
“Betty’s work has touched many people. We are preparing a way for people to assist Betty in her recovery and making sure that she has what she needs. “We will be letting you know, later today, what you can do, as well!”