Oral History Center - UC Berkeley Library

Denise Fleig: Rosie The Riveter World War II American Home Front Oral History Project

Interviewee(s):
Fleig, Denise
Interviewer(s):
Rigelhaupt, Jess
Title:
Denise Fleig: Rosie The Riveter World War II American Home Front Oral History Project
Abstract:
Denise Fleig was born in Berkeley, and moved between Oakland and her grandmother’s house in Middletown, Lake County, for much of her childhood. After marrying in 1943, she and her husband moved to San Francisco. In this interview, she tells how her grandmother came to California on a covered wagon. She recounts the inventions and schemes her father, a brick mason, thought up to try to earn money for her mother and their seven children during the Depression. She describes school as a refuge from the troubles of home life during the Depression. We hear in vivid detail about working as a welder in the Kaiser shipyards in Richmond and the friends from various parts of the country she made on the ferry to work from San Francisco. Topics covered also include racial and ethnic attitudes; prejudice against migrants from Arkansas and Oklahoma; the dangers of working in the shipyards; sexism in the workplace and at the university; attitudes about unions; and her dreams of becoming a labor mediator.
Subject area(s):
Community and Identity
Commerce, Industry, and Labor
Interview date(s):
2008
Project:
Rosie The Riveter World War II American Home Front
Rights:
Fleig, Denise. "Denise Fleig: Rosie The Riveter World War II American Home Front Oral History Project." Interview by Jess Rigelhaupt in 2008. Oral History Center, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 2009.