" I think that during World War II...there was a tremendous amount of patriotism. I think that was the important thing. It was a real job and you did something for the war effort. — Maggie Gee, Army pilot
People moved to Richmond from all over the country to work in the shipyards during the war. This led to explosive growth of the city, and a dramatic exchange between people of diverse ethnicities and cultures. Men and women of different backgrounds worked and lived side-by-side here. Although gender and racial discrimination did not end after the war, this experience dramatically redefined American society, and planted the seeds for the civil rights and women's rights movement.
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The WWII Kaiser shipyard and associated facilities are an outstanding example of an innovative wartime industry that supported, to a unprecedented level, social programs in healthcare and childcare for employees and their families. For example, one of the nations's first voluntary, pre-paid medial plans, now Kaiser Permanente, was founded to keep the shipyard workers healthy.
Behind you is the cafeteria building. During the war, this cafeteria was open 24 hours a day, as a place for home front workers to come and eat and socialize before or after their shipyard work shifts.