We’re all familiar with the iconic image of Rosie the Riveter, created during World War II to promote and support the idea of American women working in manufacturing jobs while their men went to war overseas. But you may not have seen too many actual photographs of women working those jobs, or of the women who were actually involved in the military during that time. Thankfully, The U.S. National Archives has assembled and shared a collection of such fascinating imagery, featured below. These black and white photos of women at work and at war are deeply gripping, inspiring and thought-provoking. Of particular interest is the way black women were an integral-yet-segregated part of the war effort. I also wonder how sexist ideas about women’s ability were able to thrive for even a minute in America after scores of women successfully built the weapons of war that functioned so well for the men in harm’s way.
All photos via The U.S. National Archives on Flickr.