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Guide to the Brooklyn Navy Yard oral history collection ARC.003

Brooklyn Historical Society
128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn 11201

Brooklyn Historical Society

Collection processed by Amy Lau, Mary Mann, Aliki Caloyeras, and Margaret Fraser

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on  , September 3, 2020
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Container List

Oral History Interview with Rubena Ross, November 3, 2008

Biographical / Historical

Rubena Rhodes Ross (1918- ) was born in South Carolina where her mother was a teacher and her father was a farmer. Her family moved to Flushing, Queens when she was eleven and later settled in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, where she heard about work at the Navy Yard through her neighbors. Since Rhodes had learned to sew at an early age from her mother, she signed on to work as a seamstress in the flag loft at the Navy Yard.

Scope and Contents

Rubena Rhodes Ross (1918- ) worked as a seamstress in a few factories before beginning work at the Navy Yard. During her interview, Ross describes the process of sewing the flags and her work environment. She remembers enjoying her work at the Navy Yard, relating that her supervisors did not just see her as a just worker, which was a different experience from her previous factory jobs. She also talks about her family, including her brother who was in the Airforce with the Tuskegee Airmen and her husband, who spent some time as a photographer for the Army. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan and Jennifer Egan.

Conditions Governing Access

This interview can be accessed onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and online at the Oral History Portal.

Subject Organizations

  • New York Naval Shipyard

Subject Topics

  • African Americans
  • Family life -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Friendship
  • Local transit
  • Shipyards -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Tailoring -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Wages -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Clothing and dress -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Women -x Employment -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Work environment -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • World War, 1939-1945
  • African American women

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)