Bay Area civil rights icon Betty Reid Soskin turns 99, encourages public to join her in voting

ByLeslie Brinkley KGO logo
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Bay Area civil rights icon Betty Reid Soskin turns 99
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As Bay Area civil rights legend, Betty Reid Soskin, turned 99-years-old Tuesday, her advice the country was to go out and vote.

RICHMOND, Calif. (KGO) -- A Bay Area legend turned 99-years-old today. Betty Reid Soskin celebrated on Zoom and offered sage advice to get out and vote this fall.

When you're 99, it's easy to look back -- But Betty Reid Soskin is also looking ahead, saying she's grateful.

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"There are so many pieces that are important to me that I've lived through and can only now recognize as having been special."

Soskin was born on September 22, 1921. During World War II she worked as a file clerk for a boilermaker's union and founded Reid's Records in Berkeley. It was open for 75 years.

She was a songwriter in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and has continued to be vocal as the oldest park ranger at the Rosie the Riveter National Historic Park in Richmond.

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She's been recognized nationally and locally as one of the unsung heroes of the civil rights movement.

Perhaps it was fitting that Soskin's birthday happened to fall on national voter registration day. Hundreds logged onto Zoom for the event sponsored by Literacy for Every Adult Program in partnership with The Key to Community Project.

Soskin said "I don't think there's ever been an election that's more important than this one, ever, since a great experiment began in 1776. This is probably my last chance to effect whatever is going to be following me. I relish that. "