Diversity in the Women Airforce Service Pilots of WWII: Poster and Reflection

Hi everyone, we did it! This has been quite a semester, but I am seriously impressed by all of the final projects so far. Thank you everyone for the support and for making this such a wonderful class.

My final project has a WordPress website at https://wasphistory.wordpress.com/ where you can click onto the interactive timeline.

Here is my project poster:

This project definitely tested my abilities in many ways, but I am ultimately grateful that I chose my digital project because I was able to delve further into a history I am really interested in and experiment with different digital tools, including Timeline JS and WordPress. I was not sure exactly what my project would look like in its final form, but I think that it has come a long way from my original idea. Although there are minimal resources on a couple of the WASPs, especially Ola Millie Rexroat and Verneda Rodriguez McLean, I was able to find enough non-scholarly and scholarly secondary sources on all four women across the categories that I used in my timeline.

In the future, I would love to continue to build upon this research and my end products to include even more about Gee, Lee, Rexroat, and Rodriguez McLean’s lives. Additionally, my original idea was to include the stories of Mildred Hemmans Carter and Janet Harmon Bragg, who were not accepted into WASP because it did not allow African American women into the organization. It would be valuable to extend this project to include these women’s lives in some capacity.

My goal with this timeline and its accompanying WordPress website was to create an accessible and succinct history of the ethnically diverse women who flew in the WASP. Most of this history is included in the interactive timeline and the WordPress website serves as a place to host the timeline, as well as it including a description of the project, an introduction to the history, and a quick look at the servicewomen.

Because the WASP in general is relatively underrepresented in military histories and the four women I highlight in this project are even more so, I hope that this project and future scholarship will contribute to a more inclusive history. It was an honor to research Hazel Ying Lee, Maggie Gee, Verneda Rodriguez McLean, and Ola Millie Rexroat, and I was thrilled to engage in this history again after researching Lee and Gee in my undergraduate honors thesis. In the future, I also hope to continue using these digital history skills and my experience with Timeline JS and WordPress in future projects.

I was very new to digital history coming into this course, so it has been a really interesting semester across the many different practicums, tools, and topics we have covered. It is rewarding to finally be at the end of the semester, but I am grateful for this learning experience! Thank you again to everyone for making this a memorable semester! I look forward to seeing everyone’s presentations and projects! Congratulations everyone!

3 Replies to “Diversity in the Women Airforce Service Pilots of WWII: Poster and Reflection”

  1. Hi Claudia, thank you for sharing this resource. It’s a topic I didn’t know much about but I really enjoyed learning through this tool you created. Its very engaging and you elevated what I have seen done on TimelineJS before. I think the addition of the wordpress site was a great choice as it helped to provide context for the timeline and more detail on who these women were.

  2. Hi Claudia! I’m so glad that you decided to go with this project and highlight these women’s stories. I really like your use of TimelineJS in conjunction with the images and information. I think it’s very engaging, and it’s effectively shows the women and events in context with each other. The accompanying WordPress website also provides great contextual information, and two work together well. Great work!

    (Also on a side note, the last image on the timeline for Verneda Rodriguez’s death isn’t showing up and it says that it requires permission to access on Google Drive.)

  3. This project was really interesting to look through. I know that the Soviet Union was one of the first countries to enlist women into the air force, but I was not aware that the USAAF had female pilots so early, or that they were this diverse ethnically. It was also nice to see that the story didn’t end with the dissolution of the WASP, and that the women were able to receive recognition as veterans.

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