Acknowledgements:This interview was made possible by the generous support of The Susan & Elihu Rose Foundation
Frances Tunell Carter was born in rural Mississippi and at 18 was teaching elementary schoolchildren on a defense certificate through the National Youth Administration (NYA). Her soon-to-be husband John Carter volunteered for the military and she realized that if she were a boy, she would’ve been drafted, so decided to go into defense work. Her mother told her she could only go as far away as Birmingham, where she got a job in the sheet metal department in the shipyards. She worked until her mother fell ill and she had to return home to care for her. Frances’s husband John (also interviewed) served as a paratrooper, jumping behind enemy lines, but prior to the war was also a teacher with the NYA. After the war, they both became college professors. Frances Carter went on to found The National Rosie The Riveter Association in 1998.