Gladys Reese Profile

About Gladys

Gladys Reese’s story is not only about pioneering work of Rosies; it is a story of integration in America. She grew up in Fayette County, West Virginia on land her family owned – not her parents because they both died when she was a child, but with an aunt. She had to ride a school bus about 60 miles one way and pass many schools to attend school because of segregation. As she graduated from high school,
her teacher took her to Detroit where she was a metal worker. The work floor was integrated but she had to go to the back door of restaurants, so her friends would go to Canada in a short bus trip where they were welcome to shop and eat. After the war, she and her husband had children and were foster parents to several others. Her death in 2017 was a great loss of a piece of living American history. Please see our Interview section for an outstanding story, which was taped on Martin Luther King Day, 2014.

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