ap215 wrote: ↑Fri Apr 01, 2022 7:39 am
Oldest U.S. active park ranger retires at 100
RICHMOND, Calif. (AP) — The nation’s oldest active park ranger is hanging up her Smokey hat at the age of 100.
Betty Reid Soskin retired Thursday after more than 15 years at the Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, California, the National Park Service announced.
https://apnews.com/article/travel-educa ... 5cb1acb1d6
Such an interesting lady.
Reid's Records was originally established by local sports hero Melvin "Mel" Reid and his then-wife Betty Reid Soskin on June 1, 1945, using the ground floor of the duplex they lived in. The plan was to sell race records -- music that no white-owned business would sell -- to the burgeoning African-American population in the Bay Area, which had quadrupled because of the war effort. However, the record store wasn't the initial vehicle for this. Mel had first planned to start up a black jukebox business, but quickly discovered that retail was much more lucrative, as there was virtually no competition at the time for a business that sold black music.
Mel worked at Kaiser Shipyards to earn money to buy records for inventory, while Betty sold the records retail through a window in their garage. They started to invest in advertising: when Wynonie Harris released his landmark 78 record "Around the Clock", the Reids bought time on KRE to play the record and advertise it was available for sale at their establishment. This proved to be a breakthrough in the store's fortunes, bringing in immediate crowds of customers.
At that point, the store still sold primarily jazz and blues music. In 1947, Mel launched a radio program on KRE named "Gospel Gems", and quickly became the leading DJ of black Gospel music in the Bay Area. In 1951, Mel's uncle, Paul Reid, took over Mel's radio spot on KRE and became an extremely successful gospel DJ in his own right, later adding a second show "Spirituals at 6" to his slate, and then switching from KRE to KDIA.
Paul and Mel branched out into the live music side of the business, working as promoters for the Oakland Auditorium with leading acts in the genre such as the Staple Singers, Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, James Cleveland, The Caravans, Davis Sisters, the Staple Singers, the Ward Singers, the Rev C. L. Franklin and his teenage daughter, a young Aretha Franklin. The pair organized annual gospel extravaganza concerts with big-name acts, that also featured attractions like choir competitions, where the "winners" were awarded lavish trophy cups. Mel continued to lean more heavily into gospel in Reid's Records, which further expanded their business. The Reids moved their operations out of their garage and into the storefront next door to their duplex. They quickly became the largest retailer of gospel records in the state of California, and Paul and Mel became the most successful gospel promoters on the West Coast. Paul started a Reid's Records record label, releasing singles by local gospel acts like The Lathanettes.
In 1952, the Reid family moved into a house in Walnut Creek, California, and Betty largely dropped out of the day-to-day operation of the store in order to raise the family's four children. They opened a second Reid's Records in nearby Oakland, California, and started buying up residential property around the Berkeley Reid's.
More about this great record store in link.