Women and the role they played in L.I.'s history
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During World War II, the term Rosie the Riveter was used to symbolize all of the women who worked in the defense industry. A few of the original Rosies were from or settled on Long Island.
Rose Bonavita and her work partner, Jennie Florio, set a record by drilling 900 holes and driving 3,300 rivets in the tail of a Grumman TBF Avenger torpedo bomber during one six-hour overnight shift in June 1943. President Franklin D. Roosevelt later commended Bonavita. After the war, she married and became a Long Island homemaker.
Rosalind P. Walter, who helped build the F4U marine gull-wing fighter plane, was the inspiration for the 1942 song “Rosie the Riveter,” recorded by the popular swing bandleader Kay Kyser. After the war, Walter became a philanthropist and a trustee at Long Island University.
Many other Long Island women, from all walks of life, left — or continue to leave — their mark on our area, the nation and the world:
• Sara Whalen, of Greenlawn, was a member of the U.S. women’s soccer team that won the 1999 World Cup.
• Judith Jacobs, of Woodbury, was the first female presiding officer of the Nassau County Legislature.
• Donna Karan, who grew up in Woodmere, is head designer and chief executive officer of the fashion company that bears her name.
• Hazel Dukes, formerly of Roslyn, is a civil rights activist who served as both national and state president of the NAACP.
• Bernadette Castro, of Lloyd Harbor, is not only the former president of Castro Convertibles, but a former state commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and was a member of former Gov. George Pataki’s cabinet.
• Geri Barish, of Baldwin, is president of 1 in 9: The Long Island Breast Cancer Action Coalition.
• Doris Kearns Goodwin, a historian who grew up in Rockville Centre, won a Pulitzer Prize for “No Ordinary Time,” a book on Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.
• Dorothy Goosby, of Hempstead, filed suit against the town for racial discrimination in elections, won — and later became the first African-American woman ever elected to the Town Board.
KeywordsWomen's History Month, women, Mary Cooper, Anna Smith Strong, Setauket Spy Chain, Harriet Quimby, Moisant School of Aviation, right to vote, suffragettes, Nineteenth Amendment, Rosie the Riveter, "Rosie the Riveter", Rose Bonavita, Jennie Florio, Rosalind P. Walter, Kay Kyser, Sara Whalen, Judith Jacobs, Donna Karan, Hazel Dukes, Bernadette Castro, Castro Convertibles, Geri Barish, 1 in 9: The Long Island Breast Cancer Action Coalition, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Dorothy Goosby