Last year, the film “Red Tails” shined a light on the oft-forgotten story of the Tuskegee Airmen, an all-black group of fighter pilots during World War II. Despite the inspirational story, many were a bit perturbed by the lack of black women in the film. While black women were an integral part of that time period and supported their husbands, sons, brothers, and other men in the war effort, their stories have been overlooked, until now.
Gregory S. Cooke, producer and director the forthcoming documentary “Invisible Warriors,” aims to tell the story the black women during the World War II era. Inspired by his mother, who worked in the U.S. Patent Office during the war, Cooke set out to document the plight of black women like his mother during that time.
Invisible Warriors: African American Women in World War II features the powerful recollections of pioneers — Black women who fought for their civil rights, and who empowered themselves while working in war production, government offices, and in the U.S. military.
Mary McLeod Bethune’s personal relationship with Eleanor Roosevelt and direct access to the President, were responsible for creating employment opportunities for 600,000 Black women. On the home front, African American women escaped the stunting shackles of poverty, sharecropping and lives as domestics to become “Rosie the Riveters” and government employees. Barriers in the U.S. military fell as Black women volunteered for the Women’s Army Corps (WAC), Army Nurse Corps, SPARS (Coast Guard), and WAVES (Navy). They served in outposts as far-flung as England, Liberia, and New Guinea. African American women’s wartime military service helped to end racial segregation in the armed forces in 1948.