Betty Leon Reid-Soskins (Charbonnet)

Richmond, Contra Costa County, California, United States

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Betty Leon Reid-Soskins (Charbonnet)'s Geni Profile

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Elizabeth Leon Soskins (Charbonnet)

Also Known As: "Betty Reid"
Current Location:: Richmond, Contra Costa County, California, United States
Birthplace: Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Dorson Louis Charbonnet and Lottie Breaux Charbonnet
Ex-wife of Mel A. Reid and William F. Soskin, PhD
Sister of Lottie M Fields and Marjorie Brooms

Occupation: Park ranger
Managed by: Eugene Thomas
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Betty Leon Reid-Soskins (Charbonnet)

Betty Reid Soskin (born Betty Charbonnet; September 22, 1921) is a Park Ranger with the National Park Service, assigned to the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, California. As of late 2015, at age 94, she is the oldest National Park Ranger in the United States.

She has been celebrated as: "a tireless voice for making sure the African-American wartime experience – both the positive steps toward integration and the presence of discrimination – has a prominent place in the Park's history".

Park Ranger Soskin has said, commenting on her life at age 93: "Wish I'd had [the] confidence when the young Betty needed it to navigate through the hazards of everyday life on the planet. But maybe I'm better able to benefit from having it now – when I have the maturity to value it and the audacity to wield it for those things held dear."


Betty Soskin was born in 1921, in Detroit to Dorson Louis Charbonnet and Lottie Breaux Allen, both natives of Louisiana. Her father came from a Creole background, and her mother from a Cajun background. Her great-grandmother had been born into slavery in 1846.

In June 1945, she and her then husband, Mel Reid, founded Reid's Records in Berkeley, California, a small black-owned business specializing in Gospel music.

She was divorced from Mel Reid in 1972, and subsequently married William Soskin, a psychology professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

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Betty Leon Reid-Soskins (Charbonnet)'s Timeline

September 22, 1921
Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, United States