Josie Dunn, who helped desegregate Boeing and build WW II bombers, dies at 98


Josie Dunn grew up picking cotton in Oklahoma and was among the first African Americans hired by Boeing. “Josie the Riveter” worked at Boeing for nearly 38 years.

Josie Dunn, raised in a poor family in Oklahoma, came to Seattle in 1943 at age 24 in a wave of young black women hired to build bomber aircraft in Boeing’s factories as a crucial part of the U.S. war effort.

In segregated America before the Second World War, Boeing did not employ African Americans. Mrs. Dunn got her chance after President Franklin Roosevelt ordered wartime federal contractors to end discrimination and black leaders pressed Boeing to implement the shift.


In a twist on the government’s famous symbol of women at work, Mrs. Dunn was affectionately dubbed “Josie the Riveter.”

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