The National Park Service has been very conscientious in going beyond textbook versions of history at Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond.
Ongoing exhibits, films and talks are held at the park visitors center to tell the story of the Japanese internment, minorities entering the workforce for the first time and the resistance and discrimination they encountered, and the uprising of black sailors after the explosion at Port Chicago.
The park, which has "preserving the stories and artifacts associated with the civilian American World War II Home Front" as the heart of its mission, now wants to document the largely hidden experiences of gay, lesbian and bisexual people during World War II.
A lack of documentation to date is "likely due to the prejudice and severe legal, economic and social consequences of revealing sexual orientation in the 1940s," the park unit notes in explaing why its LGBT collection is empty to date.
"There is a sense of urgency for the park to collect these and other underrepresented stories, since many people from this generation have already passed away without documenting their contributions or experiences from World War II," said NPS Ranger Elizabeth Tucker in an announcement.
At the same time, for the same reasons that the LGBT community was marginalized and hidden during the war, many may still be reluctant to relate their experiences.
That's why the park has established a confidential phone line at 510-232-5050, ext. 6631.
The park and the Rosie the Riveter Trust are partnering to produce a traveling exhibit in 2015, in consultation with public historian Donna Graves.
As part of the outreach effort, the National Park Service and the Rosie the Riveter Trust are being hosted by the Lesbian Social Club in Rossmoor at 3 p.m. March 24 to gather stories and hear the author of "Wax," a fictional account of two lesbian workers in the Kaiser shipyards in Richmond. Those interested in attending can call 510-232-5050, ext. 6631, to RSVP and get the location of the event.
ECHS BAND REUNION: El Cerrito High School is holding a Band Reunion Weekend on March 21 to 23 to celebrate the music program's history and make the final push in a two-year campaign to raise $75,000 to provide new instruments for current and future students.
Events at the Performing Arts Theater at ECHS, 540 Ashbury Ave., will include performances by the school bands and jazz ensembles, as well as rehearsals and performances by the Alumni Symphonic Band and Jazz Ensemble "led by former ECHS Band directors spanning the last five decades."
The weekend culminates with the Alumni Band Concert at 6 p.m. March 23 that will feature Bay Area brass ensemble Brazzissimo as special guest.
The weekend's schedule features the Spring Concert by the ECHS Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band at 7 p.m. March 21 (admission $15); a concert with the Jazz Ensemble, Workshop, Lab, and Quintet along with a performance by the ECHS Alumni Jazz Ensemble at 7 p.m. March 22; and the ECHS Alumni Band Concert with Brazzissimo at 6 p.m. March 23.
Admission to each concert is $15.
Full details on the weekend and the music program are online at www.echsbands.com.
WEST COUNTY NOTES: Award-winning folk duo Karen Savoca and Pete Heitzman headline the next Point Richmond Acoustic concert, joined by opening performer Katie Dahl at 8 p.m. March 14 at First United Methodist Church, 201 Martina St. in Point Richmond.
Tickets are $18 general, $15 seniors and students. Details: www.pointacoustic.org.
"All hands on board -- bring gloves, wear closed toe shoes and we will provide the rest," including lunch and soft drinks, the community theater company says.
Learn about the life of Marsh, described as "one of the most cantankerous figures in Northern California history, an Indian trader and self professed doctor who fought with the Sioux in the Black Hawk War, settled in Eastern Contra Costa in 1838, prospered — but met an unhappy end."
Gene Metz, president of the John Marsh Trust, will also discuss restoration of the 1855 stone mansion built by Marsh, located in what is now a 4,000-acre state park "with newly discovered archeological remains going back 7,000 years."
The talk is free and open to the public. For more details contact Dave Weinstein at 510-524-1737 or firstname.lastname@example.org.