A Woman to Know: Naomi Parker Fraley

I didn’t want fame or fortune, but I did want my own identity. — Naomi Parker Fraley

I didn’t want fame or fortune, but I did want my own identity. — Naomi Parker Fraley

(image via Wikimedia Commons)


Naomi Parker Fraley was our real-life Rosie the Riveter.

A photo of Naomi (probably the one above) inspired the iconic “We Can Do It!” poster. At the time, Naomi and her sister joined the war effort in Alameda, California, tying their hair back with polka-dotted bandanas. The two patched airplane wings, drilled metals and — aha! — drove rivets together the local Naval Air Station.

The 1943 poster made the “Rosie the Riveter” character an instant icon. For years, no one knew the identity of the real Rosie — until a professor found the original photograph of Naomi and connected the dots. When Naomi herself saw the photo in a museum display, she realized she’d been the icon all along. She posed for a recreation in People magazine, red bandana, flexed bicep and all.

She passed away at the age of 96, on Jan. 20, 2018 — the day of the Women’s March.

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