Making Things Better Together

In these complex, seemingly fractious times we’re going through right now, I thought I’d offer a little example of the history of San Diegans working together for the common good.

The two photos appearing in today’s post are from the website of the Library of Congress and are from April and May of 1942. This was shortly after the United States had entered World War Two. Both photos show the San Diego offices of the Pacific Parachute Company, one of a number of companies aiding the nation’s defense efforts. When the company opened its doors at 627 Eighth Avenue in downtown San Diego in March of 1942 it was proclaimed as the first defense plant in the city, and perhaps the first in the whole country, to be managed by an African-American. That manager was Howard Smith, who is shown in the photo below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another photo showing the company’s main workroom reveals a predominantly, though not exclusively, female workforce:

Accounts in the local media of the time describe the workers as including African-American, Asian and Latina workers as well as Caucasians. It was a workforce that looked like America, working to meet the needs of a nation at war. Rather like a lot of American workplaces, then and now.

Just a little reminder of the historic reality of America.

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